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In the next few weeks, statutory interpretation is going to be the talk of the town. President Trump’s emergency declaration, though it has all the trappings of a constitutional crisis and king-like assertions of power, is really nothing more than a nice little question about the meaning of statutes. Congress passed a statute that allows the President to declare a “national emergency.” Once the President makes that declaration, he can then invoke other statutes (also…
Review of Amy J. Griffin, Dethroning the Hierarchy of Authority, 97 Or. L. Rev. _______ (forthcoming) Legal analysis differs from other forms of analysis in (at least) one important respect: We have to deal with authority. The wall between “is” and “ought” can be insurmountable when you’re standing in front of a district court judge and she’s got a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that says you lose. Maybe the Supreme Court got it wrong.…
Back in February, the Supreme Court of Washington decided In re Arnold, which held that a Division of the Court of Appeals should not follow the decisions of the other Divisions as a matter of horizontal stare decisis. As I observed at the time, the Supreme Court’s distinction between inter-Division conflicts and intra-Division conflicts doesn’t find much basis in the law: The statute does not distinguish between inter-Division and intra-Division panels. So when the…
Let’s say you need a new chef’s knife. So you go to Bed, Bath & Beyond and head for the kitchen section. (That’s part of the “Beyond,” I guess.) In a fancy cutlery display you see a large selection of chef’s knives. But you don’t buy any of those. Instead, you walk right past the chef’s knives and over to the cheese knives. After perusing a bit, you buy this set: That’s a nice…
So there I was on Sunday evening, October 7. A glass of scotch in hand, all ready to fill out the official Bluebook questionnaire, which would allow me to suggest improvements for the forthcoming 21st edition. A dramatic reenactment of my preparation for the survey But then I clicked on the link. Apparently, despite previous reassurances that the survey would be open until October 8, I was too late. The survey was already expired.  I was…
The hottest new Washington Supreme Court decision is Eyman v. Wyman. It has everything. A split judgment with no clear majority decision. A debate about the proper role of the courts when dealing with unconstitutional statutes. And Washington’s indirect initiative procedure. What’s Washington’s indirect initiative procedure? It’s that thing, where a group of citizens can collect signatures, and then propose a statute . . . . Okay, that’s enough of that gimmick. The case, however, is…
Citations are like the weather: Everyone complains about them, but nobody does anything about it! Until now. If you’re a reader of this blog, you’re likely interested in legal writing. And you likely realize that legal writing is full of italicized text and parenthetical information and weird abbreviations that often come between sentences—the citations. I’ve previously written about citations. But I focused mostly on the isolated, narrow issue of citation format. I was interested in…
You might have heard about the Florida lawyer who opposed a pregnant attorney’s request for a continuance. Here’s the story: A defense attorney, Christen Luikart, sought a trial continuance because (or at least in part because) she is pregnant, and her due date might conflict with the trial. The plaintiff’s attorney, Paul Reid, opposed the motion. The judge held a hearing on June 4; she granted the continuance. The end. Well, of course,…
Like many states, Washington has its own citation rules. The Washington Style Sheet tells Washington judges and lawyers to use The Bluebook—with a few exceptions. So, for example, instead of citing statutes with “Wash. Rev. Code” we can just use “RCW.” And we don’t need to provide the publication date or publisher for citations to statutes. Huzzah! And instead of using just P.2d or P.3d to cite Washington cases, we also use Wn. App. and…
In State v. Yallup, Division 3 of the Court of Appeals provides some advice to parties on what to do if the trial court does not timely enter findings of fact. I was not aware of this being a big problem, but apparently it is—especially when the trial judge retires to “spend much of [his] time at sea” before the findings can be entered. Here’s the Court of Appeals’ full discussion of the issue…