Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Flashy language doesn't fly with Supreme Court


Public Release: 21-Nov-2016
Flashy language doesn't fly with Supreme Court
Michigan State University

Memo to all attorneys submitting legal briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court: Be subtle and your chances of winning go up significantly.

A new study co-authored by a Michigan State University political scientist finds briefs written with emotional language are much less likely to win the justices' votes.

Is your client an "elderly widow seeking to retain her lifelong home"? Stick with that. Taking it further by claiming she is an "innocent victim of a heartless system that lacks compassion" is simply too much, said Ryan C. Black, MSU associate professor of political science and a Supreme Court expert.

"Our findings show that Supreme Court justices are less likely to side with briefs that use flashy adjectives and emotionally charged language," Black said. "Justices are trained in the traditional 'rule of law' approach that values objective, logical arguments."


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