Quotes

It’s Judge Edison, Not Judge Ellison

This order, which was entered earlier this week in the Southern District of Texas, offers at least two lessons.

First, in general you should try to use the fewest words necessary to accomplish your goal. The judge’s edits cut the proposed order from 86 to just 29 words (not counting the title and signature block), and, not coincidentally, made it clearer and much more direct than the original.

Second, in general you should try to get the judge’s name right.

Here the drafters didn’t misspell the judge’s name or something like that—they just put the wrong judge’s name on the signature line. It should have been prepared for the signature of U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison, as Judge Edison clarified in this note:

Plaintiff’s counsel prepared this draft order and obviously confused me with U.S. District Court Judge Keith Ellison. I appreciate the compliment, but want to make sure the parties understand that Judge Ellison and I are two completely different people. Judge Ellison clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court; I once visited the Supreme Court on a tour. Judge Ellison was a Rhodes Scholar; my mom thinks I should have been a Rhodes Scholar. Judge Ellison graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard; I don’t know what those big Latin words mean.

In fact, Judge Edison graduated cum laude from Dartmouth and then got a J.D. from Virginia, so he probably does know some Latin (and Greek). He’s got a sense of humor, more importantly.