October 25, 2010
As an attorney, the part of my job I enjoy the most is handling appeals. Analyzing the law, plotting an argument, writing brief points, arguing the case to a panel of judges; nothing beats the appellate part of my practice. Of course, there are different approaches to appellate advocacy, some more or less effective than others. I always keep an eye out for examples of briefs and oral arguments that I find effective—to emulate, or ineffective—to avoid making similar errors.
Today, one of my partners handed me a Petition for Rehearing En Banc filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by a pro se litigant in a bankruptcy action. The plaintiff, one Paul Hupp, apparently had strong disagreements with the trial court and appellate court panel decisions which refused to discharge his student loan debt as part of his bankruptcy. So, this pleading is Hupp's request that the full Court of Appeals reconsider his appeal, an unusual occurrence as most federal court appeals are resolved by three-judge panels. From Hupp's petition, we can observe examples of several rhetorical techniques certain to sway the court:
I. Nuance is key. Use appropriate qualifiers to convey important context.
II. Use specific facts to emphasize your important points.
Plaintiff has news for these slime ball, piece of shit, ass clown judges (Bowie, Canby, Thomas and Fletcher—this means you) that think they are going to rig the system and railroad the poor and innocent—such as blocking the discovery process so the poor cannot defend themselves, commit perjury in their orders and a host of other constitutional violations, and do it with impunity—that is simply not going to happen in this case. You cock suckers are now on notice.
III. Point out flawed legal reasoning in a direct, concise manner.
U.S.C. § 1095a is unconstitutional because it allows wage garnishment without a court order or due process of law. I guess it is OK for this Court to allow such to acts to happen to the public, as long as it is the poor and those least able to fight back. Wrong bitches.
IV. Be polite and respectful when criticizing adverse rulings by the trial court.
Judge Bowie[’]s blocking of Plaintiff's entire discovery plan is one of the reasons the Defendant has gotten away with this bullshit. Thank you Judge Bowie for violating F.R.C.P. Rule 26, as well as every other discovery rule you cock sucking motherfucker.
V. Emphasize the adverse consequences inherent in the opposing side's position.
Civil unrest is the predicted outcome of such criminal and civil misconduct[.] That civil unrest is going to start at the doorsteps of the slime ball, mother-fucking judges that allowed, engaged in and perpetuated it. And when that civil unrest comes knocking at your doorstep, just tell it that it is "unpersuasive", and let us know how that works out—OK bitches.
VI. Use bold language to emphasize key points.
VII. Conclude with a strong, assertive point.
YOU COCK SUCKING MOTHER FUCKERS ARE ON NOTICE.
Submitted this 17th day of June, 2010.
/s/ Paul Hupp
Clearly this petition makes a strong case for a particular outcome. In fact, I suspect the Ninth Circuit will find Hupp's arguments highly persuasive in resolving his appeal.
So, what's the connection to poker? Well, check out these arguments by the brilliant wannabe-lawyers over on the 2+2 Forums. Apparently, the 2+2 consensus is that online poker is an unquestionably legal and constitutionally protected birthright.