Suits & Sentences applauds judicial writing that is crisp, clear and, when appropriate, colloquial. So let's hear it for Judge Brett Kavenaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In an otherwise routine opinion rendered Friday for a three-judge panel, Judge Kavenaugh dismissed an employment discrimination claim filed by a former Board of Broadcasting Governors employee. In so doing, the judge noted first an applicable legal standard erected in a case called Leedom v. Kyne, and then wrote:
"Given that very stringent standard, a Leedom v. Kyne claim is essentially a Hail Mary pass – and in
court as in football, the attempt rarely succeeds."
See how this touch of casual speech, while entirely appropriate, helps ease the reader's way through the decision. The metaphor is apt and it's not overwritten; there's no sense the 44-year-old judge is straining for ageless poetry here, but simply trying to make this decision understandable. It's no big deal -- it's only a few words, for Pete's sake -- but this easy touch accumulates.