Legal Writing

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:…




Bad Attitude Costs Texas in Fee Dispute

Hey, I get it—sometimes when you win and you think the other side's position was bogus, it's hard not to get all smug and self-righteous. But you really should try. Not trying very hard—well, not trying at all—cost the State…