The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America
legal rhetoric


In re Marriage Cases

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 15, 2008 - 5:47pm

A link to the California Supreme Court opinion (and oral arguments and briefs) on gay marriage. Glenn Greenwald (as always) has good commentary and links to various reactions to the decision. This was hardly a case of "judicial activism," given the relevant precedents and the fact that the CA legislature has *twice* voted to legalize gay marriage.


More on Loving v. Virginia

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 15, 2008 - 4:33am

Take a listen to the Supreme Court oral argument in Loving v. Virginia, thanks to Oyez. Amazing stuff. Damn activist judges. . . .


Mildred Loving, RIP

Submitted by Jim Aune on May 9, 2008 - 1:10pm

Of the most aptly-named Supreme Court case in history, Loving v. Virginia. In her last interview with the press, she spoke out in favor of the right of gays and lesbians to marry. At the heart of democratic values is the idea that ordinary people can be heroes. Mr. and Mrs. Loving are two of mine.


2nd Amendment Weirdness

Submitted by Jim Aune on March 14, 2008 - 6:52pm

The Supremes are about to hear oral argument in the DC gun case. Oddly, the Solicitor General is taking one position and Dick Cheney another. Dahlia Lithwick tries to make some sense of it.


Exxon v. Baker

Submitted by Jim Aune on February 27, 2008 - 1:00pm

The Supremes held oral argument today in the Exxon Valdez case; the case turns on the punitive damages awarded to the communities whose lives were destroyed by the massive oil spill. The oral arguments aren't posted yet on the USSC website, but the news coverage suggests lack of sympathy from Souter and Kennedy, who would be important swing voters. A lot of this turns on maritime law, about which I know zero. But it should be an interesting decision, with considerable relevance for the American way of regulating corporate malfeasance through the courts.


mute justice

Submitted by Cynthia on February 25, 2008 - 12:13pm

Not that I want him to say anything, but it's interesting to find out that Justice Clarence Thomas has not said one word during oral arguments at the Supreme Court in over two years....142 cases and not one word. The story and image had me reading this across a classroom dynamic where you have a student who says nothing in class, much less contributes to class discussion and oral arguments.


Padilla v. Yoo

Submitted by Jim Aune on January 4, 2008 - 5:19pm

Just filed today, a lawsuit against Berkeley law prof and war criminal John Yoo by Jose Padilla. Ideas have consequences.


Discourse of Judicial Dissents

Submitted by Jim Aune on October 13, 2007 - 3:32pm

I know several fellow toilers in the vineyard of legal rhetoric who are interested in judicial dissents as a distinctive rhetorical form. Here's a really interesting new working paper on the topic. Here's the link, and the abstract [of course I have to grit my teeth when I see it's an Olin Working Paper]:

From 'Seriatim' to Consensus and Back Again: A Theory of Dissent

University of Chicago - Law School October 2007

U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 263


State senator sues God

Submitted by Cynthia on September 17, 2007 - 4:07pm

In 'now I've seen everything' category, a Nebraskan state senator has sued God in order to make a statement about frivolous lawsuits. The story is here. According to the report,"The lawsuit accuses God 'of making and continuing to make terroristic threats of grave harm to innumerable persons, including constituents of Plaintiff who Plaintiff has the duty to represent.'It says God has caused, 'fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues, ferocious famines, devastating droughts, genocidal wars, birth defects, and the like.'"


A Civil Liberties Victory for the ACLU

Submitted by Jim Aune on September 6, 2007 - 6:11pm

A federal court today struck down the amended Patriot Act’s National Security Letter (NSL) provision. The law has permitted the FBI to issue NSLs demanding private information about people within the United States without court approval, and to gag those who receive NSLs from discussing them. The court found that the gag power was unconstitutional and that because the statute prevented courts from engaging in meaningful judicial review of gags, it violated the First Amendment and the principle of separation of powers.

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero wrote, “In light of the seriousness of the potential intrusion into the individual’s personal affairs and the significant possibility of a chilling effect on speech and association - particularly of expression that is critical of the government or its policies - a compelling need exists to ensure that the use of NSLs is subject to the safeguards of public accountability, checks and balances, and separation of powers that our Constitution prescribes.”