Tag Archives: Appellate Practice

The Adverse Amicus: Does Court Acceptance of Factual Assertions Require a More Active Response?

The September 1 issue of the New York Times reports on an upcoming article on the role of amicus curiae briefs in shaping Supreme Court opinions. The article, authored by William and Mary professor, Allison Orr Larsen, addresses the tendency of Supreme Court Justices to cite factual assertions made by amici. These assertions may inject matters into … Continue Reading

Reading Law: An Indispensable Treatise

In 2012, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and legal writing expert, Bryan Garner, published Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. According to its authors, the purpose of the book is two fold: (1) to promote a judicial philosophy that finds the content of the law in the text of the Constitution, statutes, and contracts … Continue Reading

Why Judicial Vacancies Matter – Part I of a Series

As Chief Justice John Roberts observed last year [pdf], judicial nominations have become something of a game for the political branches of the Federal government. Slow-walking judicial nominations – or even bringing the processing of new nominees to a complete halt – is either the last bastion of freedom or an assault on the Constitution. Both parties … Continue Reading

Thomas & Lincoln on Appellate Practice: Your Credibility is Everything (The Bryan Garner Interviews IV)

"You don’t want to lose credibility," Justice Thomas told Bryan Garner during their 2007 interview [pdf]. "That is the one thing you bring with you. And if you lose it, it’s hard to get it back." A lawyer’s credibility is his or her stock in trade, and that’s especially true in the appellate courts. Appellate judges rely on … Continue Reading

Learning to Love Oral Argument (and Persuade the Court While You’re At It) — The Bryan Garner Interviews III

My favorite part of my job is oral argument. A well-prepared oral argument with a hot bench is everything that draws a lawyer into appellate practice — a fast-paced but thoughtful give-and-take about what the law is, and where it should go. As Justice Scalia told Bryan Garner, “I think good counsel welcomes, welcomes questions.” Still, nothing … Continue Reading

Good Legal Writing Is Just Good Writing – Bryan Garner’s SCOTUS Interviews, Part I

In 2006 and 2007, legal writing icon Bryan Garner had an amazing opportunity — he interviewed eight of the nine then-sitting Justices of the United States Supreme Court on legal writing and appellate advocacy. The videotapes have been posted on Garner’s LawProse site for a while now, but last year, Garner made the Justices’ advice even … Continue Reading