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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Checking a Cite, Checking it Twice, Gonna Find Out Who’s Naughty or Nice…

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Just in case you were thinking that citation signals were just for show, Howard Bashman relates this cautionary tale -

The exchange began when Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. remarked that Tribe’s merits brief did not appear to cite very much authority for a certain point. Tribe remarked that there were two older New York State cases that provided support for the proposition. Justice Breyer then chimed in to note that one of the two cases appeared in Tribe’s merits brief following a “see also” cite, which — in Justice Breyer’s view — “is a sign to me there’s something wrong with that case.” After Tribe responded that, to the contrary, it was a really, really good case (to paraphrase), Justice Breyer asked, “Why did you say ‘See Also’?” To which Tribe responded, “I don’t remember.” (The exchange appears in the oral argument transcript at pages 45-46).

The Tribe described is, of course, Lawrence Tribe, the esteemed Harvard Law Professor, who had the unique, um, privilege, shall we say, of arguing in front of his former student, now Chief Justice. If that’s not the stuff of law student daydreams…

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