Thursday, March 28, 2013

Does "May it please the Court" please the court?

Check out Bryan Garner's What Judges Really Think About the Phrase "May it please the Court" for a history of this phrase, how to properly use it, and how a variety of appellate judges feel about this oral argument opener.
  • Chief Judge Kozinski is quoting as saying "it's totally pointeless, but largely harmless, so it's a good way to get started."
  • Judge Graber says "Its absence is always more notable than its presence, so I prefer lawyers saying May it please the Court."
Please Judge Graber with a "May it please the Court."
(Checking my last transcript of argument before Judge Graber, I see that I began with a double-opener: "Good morning, Your Honors. May it please the Court..." Phew.)