Legal Writing

NoYouCantWriteABriefLikeThisToGetAroundTheWordLimit

People sometimes ask where I find "all this stuff" as if there were a limited amount of such material. There is not. It is endless. The well is deep, my friends. Nay, do not seek the bottom, for it cannot…


Judge Criticizes “Behemoth Pleadings”

Here are some words & phrases that you really don't want a judge to apply to anything you file: sprawling behemoth surplusage larded with brims with masquerading as voluminous breathtaking madness chokes the docket intended to overwhelm labyrinthian prolixity of…


Minor Wordfoolery, Way Updated

I was pleased to see that far more respectable personage Prof. Eugene Volokh also noticed and commented yesterday on Justice Kagan’s use of “way” as an adverb in the Omnicare case. (I mentioned it at the end of this post.) It was…



Minor Wordfoolery in Today’s Supreme Court Opinion

Surely, not since “Holy $h*t, Man Walks on #&*ing Moon” has there been such a riveting headline, but hey, I noticed this and here it is. This is my three-thousand-three-hundred-and-fifty-first post, cut me some slack here. The Omnicare opinion released today…


Tenth Circuit Forced to Diagram Congressional Sentence

"Few statutes have proven as enigmatic as 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)," says the Tenth Circuit to kick off its opinion in United States v. Rentz. Hard to see what it's complaining about: (c) (1) (A) Except to the extent that a…


Court Suggests Plaintiff Could Have Grounded His Brain

A statement in a judicial opinion that isn't necessary to the holding is called a dictum (pl. dicta), and isn't technically binding (though it may or may not be persuasive). Here's a good example of that from a 1976 federal case (thanks,…



Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Make Mad

There are many great lines Justice Fergus O’Donnell’s opinion in R. v. Duncan (2013), which was an otherwise unremarkable case except that the defendant tried to run one of those “sovereign citizen” defenses up the flagpole. That didn’t go so well:…