Monday, August 15, 2011
Words to the Wise, Particularly if You're Briefing the Texas Supreme Court
Martha Lackritz is a law clerk to Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court in Austin. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the State Bar of California. She wrote an excellent short article: "Common Blunders in Texas Supreme Court Briefs." Sstatements of facts in Supreme Court briefs are, she suggests, commonly too wordy, or are, alternatively, too terse. She complains that there are not enough citations in many briefs. She says that she sees the intermediate Texas courts of appeals overcited. Such cases do not bind the Supremes and can easily be overruled by them. She hears too much hyperbole in briefs. Improper punctuation and typographic errors often arise. Briefs fail to counter arguments that the briefs are supposed to be responding to. Lastly, she reports that record citations are not used enough.