Appellate Advocacy Blog

Editor: Tessa L. Dysart
The University of Arizona
James E. Rogers College of Law

Friday, October 20, 2017

Appellate Advocacy Blog Weekly Roundup October 20, 2017


Each week, the Appellate Advocacy Blog Weekly Roundup presents a few tidbits of news and Twitter posts from the past week concerning appellate advocacy. As always, if you see something during the week that you think we should be sure to include, feel free to send Dan a quick email or a message on Twitter (@Daniel_L_Real).


Supreme Court News and Tidbits:

The Supreme Court is getting ready for beginning operation of its new electronic filing system on November 13, 2017.  Virtually all new filings will be accessible without cost once the system is operating.  More information is available HERE

A recent ProPublica review of Supreme Court opinions over the last several years revealed numerous instances where the opinions of the Court contained "false or wholly unsupported factual claims."  It appears that the errors in the opinions sometimes came from Justices doing their own research and making mistakes, and sometimes from Justices relying on information in submissions that contained errors.  More information is available HERE.  The New York Times weighed in on this on Wednesday, too, with an op-ed calling for the Court to employ fact-checkers. That article is HERE.

SCOTUS made it onto Jeopardy! this week:  See the clip HERE

Appellate Court Decisions:

On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion ruling that a towering cross-shaped monument on public land is unconstitutional.  The 2-1 ruling concluded that the monument had "the primary effect of endorsing religion and excessively entangle[d] the government in religion."  

Court Opinion

Washington Post Article

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled against Yahoo! this week in a case where two people fought for years after their brother's death in 2006, seeking to gain access to the contents of his Yahoo! email account.  The court ruled that federal law does not bar Yahoo! from providing such access.  The case isn't quite over  yet, as a probate court still has to rule on whether Yahoo! can refuse to provide the access under its TOS.  More information from Reuters HERE.

Appellate Practice:

An article in the National Law Journal this week addressed the decline in oral argument in appellate courts, citing a recent study by the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.  See the article HERE.

The Legal Intelligencer had an article this week singing the praises of "Winning on Appeal: Better Briefs & Oral Argument," a book authored by then senior Third Circuit Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert, in which the Judge attempted to educate attorneys on how to succeed on appeal from the perspective of an experienced appellate court judge.  The post is HERE.

Over at PrawfsBlawg, Professor Douglas posted his "Handy-Dandy Guide to Federal Judicial Clerkships."  It contains a wealth of information, including information about why to consider clerking, where to clerk, when to apply, and what to use for writing samples / letters of recommendation.  The post is HERE.

Jaime Santos had a great Twitter post/thread this week discussing some useful tips and reminders for appellate practitioners who have to travel and print at the hotel.  The post is HERE.

The Weekly Standard had an article this week recounting the writing process and thoughts of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.  To Scalia, writers become skilled with "more time and sweat."  The article is HERE.

Other Items of Interest:

The Washington Post had an article this week taking readers back in time to revisit the mid 1800's in the state of Missouri, where a 19 year old slave girl bashed the head of her white slave owner when he attempted to rape her, killing him.  As the article notes, "What followed was her arrest and a groundbreaking legal case known as the State of Missouri vs. Celia, a Slave -- a dispute that played out long before #MeToo hashtags on Twitter and the explosive sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Cosby, and other powerful men."  The article is HERE.

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