Friday, August 29, 2014

Appellate Extravaganza

To kick off the holiday weekend (see Supreme Court Beach, here), today's DJ & Recorder offer a buffet of appellate goodness:
  • Stanford professor confirmed to state Supreme Court. Emily Green begins the article like this: "Stanford Law School Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Gov. Jerry Brown's latest nominee to the state Supreme Court, was unanimously confirmed Thursday, becoming the second academic without previous judicial experience to join the court in three years. Cuellar, a Mexican immigrant who has worked in two presidential administrations, was feted in a courtroom packed with state and federal judges, including his wife, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose. Cuellar told the audience the law depends on people's principles and "judges must be humble yet precise." They were his first public remarks since Brown nominated him in late July."
  • Three state appeals court justices confirmed: Lee Edmon, Jonathan Renner and Brian Hoffstadt join state courts of appeal [see here for the Judicial Council's official press release: Commission Confirms Appointments to Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Second and Third Districts].
  • And The Recorder offers Cuellar Confirmation More of a Love Fest. (Interestingly, the DJ article says Tino is 42 years old, The Recorder says 41; the MetNews report also says 41: CuĂ©llar Wins Approval as Supreme Court Justice: Commission Also Approves Edmon, Hoffstadt, and Renner as Nominees to Court of Appeal.) See also Law360's "federal-perspective" in Judge Lucy Koh's Husband Tapped For Calif. High Court.
  • Also in The Recorder When Preparing an Appellate Brief, Prep the Record, then Stick to It.
  • And, if that's not enough, H&L's David Axelrad and Peder Batalden present Briefing between brevity and boredom about the recent proposal to shorten federal appellate briefs ("parties' opening and answering briefs would be limited to 12,500 words (the current limit is 14,000 words), and reply briefs would be limited to 6,250 words (the current limit is 7,000 words)") -- "This proposal may alarm lawyers who believe that the quality of their advocacy is proportional to its quantity." Two big consequences?
    • "First, writing a shorter brief requires an attorney to be particularly vigilant in selecting the issues and arguments to pursue on appeal. Briefing weak or tangential arguments has always been poor strategy on appeal - but reduced word limits may make it all but impossible to do so.
    • Second, writing shorter briefs requires rigorous editing. Unfortunately, it seems that something in the nature of legal training leads many attorneys to "overwrite," or to complicate what they have to say. Drafting briefs on computers can exacerbate these tendencies by enabling lawyers easily to copy and paste from other documents and produce briefs of prodigious length."