Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The press loves tentatives too!

The appellate bar can't gush enough over how much tentative opinions (4/2-style, or 2/8-style, written or oral) are helpful in preparing for and giving oral argument. But the press loves it too. Last week the LA Times (article here) reported: "A California appeals court issued a tentative ruling this week indicating that it is prepared to overturn a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge's decision to open juvenile dependency court hearings to the press. ... A final decision will be made following oral arguments on Dec. 19, but the tentative ruling said that California law requires that judges apply their discretion on a case-by-case basis when a reporter attempts to observe a hearing." This is a very important case, so it's helpful to the press and public to be able to see what's coming. This is an example of 2/8 going beyond oral tentatives and pre-argument short written tentatives on the day of argument, to providing a written tentative with a week's notice. Will that enhance oral argument in this significant case? Absolutely. How could it not?