Thursday, March 28, 2013

An appellate decision that could potentially impact every marriage?

No, not Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Instead, take a look at today's decision here, which begins its "Background" section like this:
Judging by appellants’ dramatic opening brief one might mistake this case for one of surpassing importance on the limits of state power to intrude into the affairs of its citizens, and specifically its married citizens. The brief opens this way: ....
The decision then goes on to quote the first six paragraphs from the AOB.
Generally, it's a good thing if a court decision quotes a lot from your brief. The exception, of course, is if the purpose of the quotation is to shoot down what's been quoted. That's what happens, as the court concludes its Background section like this:
We think the case is much less sweeping in its implications, and we fail to see a holding adverse to appellants as a threat to the institution of marriage, as appellants would have it.
Lesson? Well, a dramatic thematic policy opener might be appropriate in some cases. But make sure your case is worthy. Otherwise, you're just another Chicken Little.

The sky is falling!