Appellate Advocacy Blog

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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Appellate Advocacy Blog Weekly Roundup Friday, December 21, 2018



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 Real a quick email or a message on Twitter (@Daniel_L_Real).  You can also send emails to Danny Leavitt at or a message on twitter @Danny_C_Leavitt


Supreme Court News:

At the time of his recent nomination and confirmation to the Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh became the subject of 83 ethics complaints.  A specially appointed federal panel of judges was tasked with reviewing the complaints, amidst much speculation that Kavanaugh could not be disciplined once confirmed to the Supreme Court.  This week, that panel of judges dismissed all 83 complaints, concluding that although the complaints were serious, there does not exist authority for lower court judges to investigate and discipline a sitting Supreme Court Justice.

    • NPR Story reviewing the dismissal HERE.

Paul Clement served as United States Solicitor General, and he has argued more than 90 cases before the Court.  Clement recently shared stories about his advocacy before the Court as part of the "Countless Stories" video series from Harvard Law School.

    • Harvard Law video HERE.

The ABA Journal had a story this week about a recent study wherein researchers studied nearly 3000 hours of oral arguments before the Supreme Court over the past 30 years.  According to the study, vocal pitch of the justices during arguments is strongly predictive of their votes.  The authors posited that they were able to predict nearly 60 percent of justices' votes accurately and nearly 67 percent of overall case outcomes.

    • ABA Journal article HERE.

Federal Court Opinions and News:

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case this week wherein representatives of the victim of a distracted-driving automobile accident sued Apple, alleging that Apple failed to implement patents to lock out phones while driving and failed to sufficiently warn iPhone users about the dangers of distracted driving.  The representatives "alleged that receipt of a text message triggers in the recipient 'an unconscious and automatic, neurobiological compulsion to engage in texting behavior.'"  The district court granted Apple's motion to dismiss, denied the plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend, and dismissed the complaint with prejudice.  The Fifth Circuit affirmed on appeal.

    • Fifth Circuit Opinion HERE.

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