A mandate for all seasons

Prompt: In what ways do you expect legal writing and research to equip you in your future studies as a law student or legal professional? Support your answer with a citation from the textbook or another scholarly source. Include personal and/or historical examples in addition to thoughtful analysis.

As the corpus of jurisprudence bloats ever larger, whetted by a cavalcade of wheel-reinventing lawyers, who are loyal, above all else, to precision until the point of pedantry: the mimicry of appeals to tradition, i.e. Stare Decisis, is not only rewarded—it is mandatory. See Robin Wellford Slocum, Legal reasoning, writing, and other lawyering skills, Ch.2 §D (3rd ed. 2011). Moreover, the central-planning of this standardized thought necessitates, unto and among that cavalcade, a standard for echoing that mimicry back into the chambers whence it was decreed.

For this, I anticipate that legal writing and research will equip me for my future studies as a law student and legal professional by drilling me on the overall organization expected in the chambers of law, as well as the more minute minutiae which may make, else break, the iron fist of a given legal pedant, robed to rob justice in a supposed just way: those judges and justices anointed to follow the law (see e.g. D.C. v. Heller (2008))—else to invent it (see e.g. Marbury v. Madison (1803); see also Roe v. Wade (1973))—as someone hyper-specialized to know uniquely that which every citizen in a free nation should know discretely: how to navigate, and to negotiate, the laws to which we, as a society, agree to hold one another.

Thus, given that these litanies of trees, i.e. lionized literary regulations and mandated mimicries of (strategically curated) traditions, currently obscure a view of the forest of legal reasoning (and human character), it should prove expedient to resign myself, at least for now, to the authorized ways of dotting a legal i and crossing a legal t; and to forgo—as the purview of only those anointed Antonins etc., who bubble to the top of the chamber—any semblance of human style and natural color. See e.g. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), Scalia dissenting: “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create ‘liberties’ that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”

Thence, we simply replace Scalia’s “Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast” with “all but all law students,” and then replace his “majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court” with “the most blessed of bookworms who now lurk, else have at some point lurked, in the halls of Harvard Law, et al.”—and we have our “best practices in  jurisprudence,” which I intend to mimic dutifully—for no less than the duration of this semester.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s