Bryan Garner

* D.C. litigator Bruce Klores is living a double life as a Grilled Cheese restaurateur. He’s planning some politically-themed sandwiches, like the Boehner: “maybe if someone orders it, we’ll just say no.” [Washington Post]

* Bryan Garner took to Twitter to announce that three neologisms by David Lat are joining Black’s Law Dictionary (affiliate link). Check out which terms made the cut for the 10th edition. [Twitter]

* Oklahoma is chasing its proposal to ban all marriage with a bill to issue tickets electronically. Where’s the human touch of being harassed by the cops? [Overlawyered]

* Here are the best suitcases for an overnight business trip. [Corporette]

* We already pointed out that Quentin Tarantino is heading to court over the leaked script to The Hateful Eight. Here’s a quick rundown of the complaint. [IT-Lex]

* A riveting account, by lawyer turned journalist Adam Teicholz, of the brutal murder that shook the gay community in a small Louisiana town. [Vanity Fair]

* Crude oil is transported by rail, and those railroads have safety regulations. [Breaking Energy]

* RIP Pete Seeger. I know he was a folk singer rather than a lawyer, but he wrote a song called “New York J-D Blues,” which sums up Biglaw in this town. [Volokh Conspiracy / Washington Post]

I’m that kind of guy.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, explaining that when compromise was necessary while working on Reading Law (affiliate link), the book he co-authored with Bryan Garner, the jurist was usually the one to give in.

Judge Richard KopfBurn anything that Bryan Garner has written. He really knows his stuff, but Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style said it all. Besides, Garner, Scalia, and Posner pissed me off when they got into a juvenile cat fight over a book about rules. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I am the only one who is permitted to act like a spoiled brat.

– Senior Judge Richard George Kopf of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska issued this bold declaration in a blog post.

(For the record, Judge Kopf is permitted to act like a spoiled brat all he wants in our book.)

Bryan Garner

How old is “bench slap”? Should I put it in Black’s Law Dictionary? How would you define it?

– Legal writing guru Bryan Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary and co-author (with Justice Scalia) of Reading Law (affiliate links), asking on Twitter about a possible addition to Black’s.

(Information about the origins of “benchslap,” after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tweet of the Day: Ask Your Co-Author, Justice Scalia; He’s an Expert on Benchslaps!”

Federal judges don’t always tell lawyers that their writing is crap, but when they do, they’ll do it in a publicly filed court order. Because while judges have got many a tool in their benchslapping arsenal, a public shaming is perhaps the most useful of them all.

Today’s instance of public shaming comes to us courtesy of Judge Steven Merryday (M.D. Fla.), the same fellow who denied a motion to suspend trial in a death penalty case from an attorney who wanted to participate in an Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest.

Let’s jump right in and see what happened, because this judge had a field day with redlining….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: A Public Shaming Is Great Motivation to Brush Up Your Legal Writing”

This past Wednesday, Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit delivered the Madison Lecture on Judicial Engagement at Columbia Law School. The lecture series, sponsored by the CLS chapter of the Federalist Society, brings distinguished jurists to Columbia to discuss topics relevant to the federal judiciary and the administration of justice.

(Perhaps we should put “at” Columbia Law in quotation marks; Judge Posner actually appeared via video conference. That shouldn’t surprise, coming from a judge who lists The Matrix as one of his favorite films.)

In his talk, entitled “How I Interpret Statutes and the Constitution,” Judge Posner was his usual candid self. He offered commentary on two recent books about statutory and constitutional interpretation — books that he’s not a fan of.

Yes, readers. There will be benchslaps….

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Justice Scalia (left) and Judge Posner

Responding to a Supreme Court Justice who calls one a liar requires special care in expression.

– Judge Richard Posner, in a cover email introducing his written response to Justice Antonin Scalia’s recent “You lie!” accusation.

(More about this tiff, which we’ve been covering quite closely here at Above the Law, after the jump.)

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Justice Scalia (left) and Judge Posner

I’m not going to get into this whole thing written for a glossy magazine.

– Justice Antonin Scalia, responding to a question about his thoughts on Judge Richard Posner’s somewhat critical review, in the New Republic, of the justice’s new book, Reading Law (affiliate link).

(We attended Scalia’s talk, which took place this afternoon and was sponsored by the New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. Additional highlights from the eminently quotable justice’s remarks, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: The New Republic Isn’t That Glossy….”

Justice Scalia (left) and Judge Posner

Over the past few months, Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Richard Posner have been trading benchslaps. The most recent clash got going a few weeks ago, when Judge Posner wrote a harsh review for the New Republic of Justice Scalia and Bryan Garner’s new book, Reading Law (affiliate link).

Scalia surrogates rushed to the justice’s defense. One of his former clerks, Ed Whelan, wrote a series of posts for the National Review’s Bench Memos blog in which he criticized the Posner review. Justice Scalia’s co-author, Professor Garner, also responded forcefully to Judge Posner (who in turn responded to Garner, again in the New Republic).

But the justice himself remained silent on all of this. When we reached out to both judges about the apparent tiff, Judge Posner denied any personal animosity, but Justice Scalia declined to comment.

Now Justice Scalia has broken his silence. And His Honor seems none too happy with Judge Posner’s book reviewing skills….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Benchslap Dispatches: Justice Scalia on Judge Posner’s ‘Hatchet Job’”

Left to right: Bryan Garner, Antonin Scalia, and Richard Posner

The jurisprudential wrestling match between Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Richard Posner is quickly turning into a WWE tag team battle royal. Tagging in to help Justice Scalia: Bryan Garner, one of the foremost authorities on legal writing and legal language. Professor Garner, of course, is Justice Scalia’s co-author on Reading Law (affiliate link).

Professor Garner is not happy with Judge Posner’s treatment of the book. Let’s hear what he has to say — and also speculate on how the Posner/Scalia tiff might affect Posner’s feeding of law clerks to Scalia….

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