The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America
legal rhetoric


The Supremes Get an Election Case Right

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 17, 2008 - 11:26am

per curiam, no less. The very brief opinion is attached below in pdf. Commentary here.

08A332.pdf64.63 KB


Austin Musician Sentenced as "Narco-Terrorist" under Patriot Act

Submitted by Jim Brown on August 21, 2008 - 5:26pm

According to Austin Sound, Jake Mitchell of the Austin Band Boxing Lesson was sentenced to 5 years in prison for growing Marijuana. But Mitchell was sentenced under the Patriot Act as a "narco-terrorist" which changes EVERYTHING. Here is part of a statement from Boxing Lesson’s publicist, Ryan Cano:


DeJohn v. Temple University

Submitted by Jim Aune on August 18, 2008 - 6:41am

The 3rd Circuit strikes down a Temple University speech code that would have prohibited "generalized sexist remarks."


Unconstitutional McCain?

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 11, 2008 - 3:16pm

A fascinating legal study of how the technicalities of McCain's birth in the Canal Zone may mean he is not a "natural-born citizen," as the Constitution requires. I find these kinds of debates fascinating rhetorically, because they illustrate the tensions between legalist views of language and popular common sense as well as the limitations of strictly textualist or originalist approaches to the document.


Exorcism in the News

Submitted by Jim Aune on June 29, 2008 - 12:24pm

Last week the Texas Supreme Court ruled against a young woman who had sought damages from an Assemblies of God church for an exorcism done when she was 17, largely on free-exercise grounds. The case is


DC v. Heller

Submitted by Jim Aune on June 26, 2008 - 6:52am

Update: 5-4, striking down the DC law, and affirming an individual right to bear arms. Scalia for the majority, and 2 dissents (Breyer and Stevens). I haven't finished reading it quite yet, but there's an unusual amount of linguistic/grammatical analysis. Here are the opinions. --Finished reading. This is a highly teachable set of opinions.


Anxiously Awaiting Monday

Submitted by Jim Aune on June 20, 2008 - 3:05pm

SCOTUSblog tries to read the tealeaves for next Monday's big Supreme Court cases, by counting the distribution of majority opinions thus far in this term. The 3 big cases (I'll add the links later, time permitting) are DC v.


SCOTUS Yawn. . .

Submitted by Jim Aune on June 2, 2008 - 11:56am

Still no decisions on this year's big cases (gun control in DC, the LA death penalty, and Guantanamo), but friends of free speech and fantasy baseball will be glad to hear that the SC declined to hear an appeal by major league baseball and its players, claiming an exclusive right to control the use in fantasy games on the Internet of players’ identities and playing records. Major League Baseball Advanced Media v. CBC Distributing (07-1099).


Waiting for the Supremes?

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 27, 2008 - 7:53am

Will today be the big day for any of these important cases: death penalty for child rape in LA, prisoner rights at Guantanamo, and (to my mind the big one) DC's gun control law? Update: nope, not today; looks like it will be down to the wire at the end of term. I have no guesses about how these three will turn out.


Close Reading "The Marriage Cases"

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 18, 2008 - 3:16pm

Andrew Koppelman does a superb job of showing how to read the logic of a judicial opinion--in this case, the California Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage. (Like some of the commenters, I think he's wrong about this being a substantive due process argument.)