Friday, January 4, 2008
You may recall the scene in the Christmas Story where one kid challenges another to stick his tongue to a frozen pole:
Schwartz: Well I double-DOG-dare ya!
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a "triple dare ya"? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.
Schwartz: I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!
We, too, today, were victims of a slight breach of etiquette. Today the folks at Drug and Device Law started off properly, merely "daring" us to link to their post, An Idiot's Guide to Litigation. But being the shifty lawyers that they are, they then constructively skipped the dare and went straight to the double dare, just one line later, without allowing a response to the initial dare. Alas, having been publicly double-dared, how can we not oblige?
Just read the start and end of their post, and you'll understand the dare:
Lawyers: Stop reading now!
No! Really! We mean it!
This post is a very -- as in very -- basic guide to the litigation process, meant only to help the press (and interested others) under the next post that we're putting up. And you'll understand that next post without reading this one.
Remarkably, lay people who read this post may well now have a better grasp of the litigation process than first year law students two months into class. Professors simply don't speak these words in a way that people can understand.
(Hey, Civil Procedure Profs Blog! We dare you to link to this one. Double dare you.)
Of course the bolded phrase isn't true of all profs. For example, Bill Underwood taught me procedure, and used words that were both clearer and more accurate than those in the linked post--and context was always important. But aside from the exaggeration, the post provides a provocative reminder that the forest-and-trees problem so common in first-year courses is mostly our fault.
Happy New Year to our mischievous friends at DDL. (Oh, and fellas, I remind you that the post title "An idiot's
Guide to Litigation" is susceptible to two interpretations, as being
for or belonging to an idiot.") --RR
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
There's no better tool for tracking the Supreme Court's docket than the StatPack posted over at SCOTUSblog. Looking at the cert-granted cases, am I correct in concluding that this will be a slow year for procedure and jurisdiction decisions? While I'm sure the Court will resolve some intertwined procedural and jurisdictional issues, the main issues suggest that this year's annual casebook $upplements will be light. Here are a few issues as framed in the StatPack that might interest our readers:
- Gonzalez v. US: Waiver of right to Art. III judge to preside over jury selection when counsel agreed to have a U.S. magistrate instead.
- Sprint v. Mendelsohn: Admissibility of "me,too" testimony in age discrimination suits
- Boumediene v. Bush: Constitutional jurisdiction over habeas petitions from Guantanamo detainees
- Addition from the comments (thanks, Jeff): John R. Sand & Gravel v. US: Whether 28 U.S.C. s2501 limits the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Court of Federal Claims.