#Judge Merrick Garland writes with a fine, clear hand and just the appropriate amount of wit in the latest decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Check out this strong start:
"Like many people, Jose Lacson posted things online that he should not have. The problem is that, unlike most people, Lacson was a Federal Air Marshal. And the things he posted did not concern relationships gone awry or parties that he should have avoided."
Nicely done, this. Garland begins, bang, with a real person doing real things, and then immediately introduces us to a conflict. Note, too, the little bit of wry humor in the phrase "parties that he should have avoided."
We've all been there, Judge Garland!
And then, the opinion gets right to the nub of the case:
"Instead, he wrote about the number of air marshals the Transportation Security Administration had hired in recent years, the locations of their assignments and the rates of attrition at various TSA field offices. Upon discovering Lacson's online pastime, TSA determined that Lacson had disclosed Sensitive Security Information and fired him. Lacson asks us to set aside TSA's order by invoking another time-honored online tradition: he claims that he made it all up."
This works, and again the light touch is appreciated in the wry reference to "another time-honored online tradition" and the comical-sounding reference to "claims that he made it all up."
The rest of the decision, too, has periodic grace notes, as in an observation about "aficionados of our MSPB jurisprudence." The underlying facts are, themselves, pretty intriguing, and well worth the read.