#AppellateTwitter

cxaav8wviaagbjq-1Our band of merry travelers, known affectionately as #AppellateTwitter, has been in the news recently. In case you missed it, first there was some coverage of our crew at Above the Law. Then U.S. Law Week did a story on us, which was cross-posted at Bloomberg BNA. Then Today’s General Counsel did its own little blurb referring to the Law Week article. Then Law.com ran a story about us.

And to cap it all off, Judge Dillard (@JudgeDillard) actually cited #AppellateTwitter in a footnote to one of his judicial opinions.

Big League!

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Proposed Changes to SCOTX Jurisdiction

A bill (HB 1761) has been proposed in the Texas Legislature to change the Texas Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction. Below is my explanation (and first impression) of what the bill would do.

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Mere Dictum or Binding Alternative Ruling?

This is useful and good to know. In the Fifth Circuit, “alternative holdings are binding precedent and not obiter dictum.” Pruitt v. Levi Strauss & Co., 932 F.2d 458, 465 (5th Cir. 1991), abrogated on other grounds by Floors Unlimited, Inc. v. Fieldcrest Cannon, Inc., 55 F.3d 181 (5th Cir. 1995); see Perez v. Stephens, 784 F.3d 276, 281 (5th Cir. 2015) (citing Pruitt for this proposition). In other words, a decision that is not necessary to support the ultimate ruling, and all stated alternative rationales for a given result, have precedential value. Pruitt, 932 F.2d at 465 (citing cases). I haven’t checked to see how this plays out in other circuits, but in the Fifth (at least) you can rely on alternative rulings and rationales.

Podcast – Appellate Dream Team

If you’re a member of the ABA and have access to its website content, you can download and listen to a podcast I recorded recently, about putting together an “Appellate Dream Team.” The podcast is based on the blog post I wrote back in June. Enjoy!

SCOTUS Recap & Predictions

supreme-court-building-120628The Supreme Court kicked off its 2016 Term by hearing arguments in five criminal cases. Read on for recaps, predictions, and even a few practice tips…

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Fall Speaking Schedule – Updated

September will be busy. I’ll be talking about the Supreme Court’s 2015 & 2016 terms on the following dates, in the following places:

  • Sept 8 @ Texas A&M Law School (Fort Worth)
  • Sept 16 @ Baylor Law School (Waco) & for the Waco-McClennon Bar Association (separately)
  • Sept 22 @ BNM for the DFW Chapter of ACS (RSVP here)
  • Sept 23 @ Belo Mansion (Dallas) for the Dallas Bar Association
  • Sept 26 @ University of Texas School of Law (Austin)

I’ll also be at St. Mary’s Law School (San Antonio) in November (date TBD).

On the topics of legal writing & appellate practice, I’ll be giving a joint presentation (w/ Scott Stolley) about preparing jury charges, at the upcoming Dallas Bench/Bar Conference, Sept 29-Oct 1. And in November I’ll be participating in a panel discussion about reading and writing e-briefs, at the Annual Meeting of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Amicus Brief as PR Tool

How companies and organizations can use the amicus brief as part of a larger PR strategy. (Click the image for a definition of “amicus brief.”)

The Appellate Dream Team

Not everyone is good at everything. I’m not, anyway. So I’ve been thinking lately about the various skill sets that a good, full-service appellate group should have. And I think I’ve come up with the five key components of the appellate “Dream Team.” Keep reading, and let me know if I’ve forgotten something.

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#VoterID at the Fifth Circuit

Tweeting about Tuesday’s oral arguments before the en banc Fifth Circuit, in the Texas voter-ID case, and a lot of great Twitter activity followed. See this thread at Storify.

Rehearings at the Fifth Circuit

After attending the en banc arguments in the Texas voter-ID case this past Tuesday, I got curious and decided to dig into rehearing practices at the Fifth Circuit. Here’s what I found:

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