ABA Journal

Appellate Practice

2009 ABA Journal Appellate Practice articles.

Judge’s ‘Beowulf’ and Whistler’s mother references raise concerns with Maryland justices

An appeals judge who compared a Black defendant to a monster in the epic poem Beowulf used language that could be interpreted as evoking racial stereotypes, according to the Maryland Supreme Court.

‘The Shadow Docket’ shines light on an increasingly uncommunicative Supreme Court

In The Shadow Docket: How the Supreme Court Uses Stealth Rulings to Amass Power and Undermine the Republic, University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck argues that the U.S. Supreme Court is expanding its powers at the expense of the rule of law and public transparency.

BigLaw partner calls solicitor general’s brief ‘a hot mess’ in SCOTUS filing; was it unseemly?

Twitter critics were quick to scold a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison after he called a brief by U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar “a hot mess” in a U.S. Supreme Court filing.

ABA asks Supreme Court to review Alabama case involving fixed bail amounts

Supreme Preparation

For first-time advocates before the U.S. Supreme Court, it can come as a shock when they realize how close they are to the justices—so close some are just out of their sight line. In the words of Supreme Court veteran Neal Katyal, Chief Justice John Roberts “sees everything—he sees you sweat.”

Ethics lawyer who was fired over tweets about Islam can pursue damages, 6th Circuit says

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Tennessee legal ethics lawyer who was fired for tweeting about Islam can seek damages against his former supervisor.

Judicial Conference asks Congress for 75 new, converted federal judgeships—2 of them at appellate level

The U.S. Judicial Conference is recommending that Congress create two more permanent judgeships with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco and dozens of new judgeships at the district court level.

South Carolina laws that prosecute kids for ‘disorderly’ conduct are unconstitutional, 4th Circuit says

A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down two South Carolina laws that punish elementary and secondary school students who act “disorderly,” use “obscene” language or “act in an obnoxious manner” in or near a school.

Lawyers should try their cases with appeal in mind

Many appeals are won or lost before the notice of appeal is even filed. Trial counsel are accordingly wise to focus their litigation strategies not only on trial preparation but also on the eventual appeal. Working with an experienced appellate attorney earlier in the process—which is an option many trial lawyers and counsel overlook—can pay significant dividends.

Supreme Court justices should follow binding code of ethics, ABA House says

The U.S. Supreme Court should adopt a binding code of ethics for its justices that is akin to the code of conduct the Judicial Conference of the United States adopted for other federal judges, the House of Delegates said after a spirited debate at the 2023 ABA Midyear Meeting in New Orleans on Monday.

Weekly Briefs: SCOTUS sets a record; CUNY law student goes missing

Still no SCOTUS opinions in argued cases

The U.S. Supreme Court has set a record by failing to issue opinions in argued cases this term. Usually, the high court issues…

As underrepresentation of Asian American lawyers in top jobs continues, more are speaking out, new study finds

Out of 2,396 elected prosecutors in the United States, eight identified as Asian American, according to a new study sponsored by the American Bar Foundation and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Many federal judges want clerkship diversity but say the topic is rarely addressed in court, new study says

In a recent study of federal appellate judges, many indicated that they had difficulties hiring Black law clerks. Black jurists, who make up less than one-eighth of the federal appellate courts, hired more than half of the Black clerks.

ABA asks SCOTUS to preserve long-standing attorney-client privilege

In an amicus brief filed Wednesday, the ABA urged the U.S. Supreme Court to consider client-lawyer communications privileged, even if the purpose of some of those communications is not to request or give legal advice.

Lawyer who missed deadline to watch son’s professional baseball debut gets no sympathy on appeal

Updated: A California lawyer was unable to get his client’s case reinstated when a federal appeals court rejected his excuse for missing a court deadline—that he was in Illinois to see his son’s professional baseball debut.

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