Thursday, May 26, 2011

Appellate Tips From Supreme Court Justices

    There is a cottage industry in America--continuing legal education courses, tapes, lectures, and books--which promises to teach both the experienced and novice appellate lawyer how to write a persuasive brief and how to make a winning oral argument. Some of these materials are specific to a particular court, while others offer generic advice which is applicable regardless of the jurisdiction in which the appeal will be heard.
    Some of the best material comes from appellate judges, although few can improve on Justice Robert H. Jackson's 1951 speech "Advocacy Before the United States Supreme Court," which can be found here
    Scribes, The American Society of Legal Writers, has just published in its journal interviews with eight United States Supreme Court Justices about appellate advocacy . The interviews are conducted by Bryan A. Garner, co-author with Justice Scalia of Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges. 
    I have just started to make my way through the interviews--which run over 180 pages--and I will share the nuggets in future blog entries. You can access all the interviews here. A New York Times article on the interviews can also be found here.

Today's Decisions:  the United States Supreme Court issued four decisions today. In Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America v. Whiting the Court ruled 5-3 that the federal Immigration and Reform Control Act did not preempt Arizona's Legal Arizona Workers Act, a decision certain to add fuel to the controversy over whether states can enforce their own laws directed at immigrants. 
    U.S. v. Tinklenberg addresses the application of the federal Speedy Trial Act; Camreta v. Greene addresses when a party which has prevailed in a United States Court of Appeals can still seek review in the United States Supreme Court because it is displeased with one aspect of the Court of Appeals ruling; and Fowler v. United States provides an interpretation of the federal witness tampering statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(a)(1)(C).    

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