Judge Boasberg and the art of judicial writing

Posted by Michael Doyle on November 4, 2013 

Sometimes it's the little things that count in making judicial writing spicy enough to be  interesting.

Consider, for instance, the small touch U.S. District Judge James Boasberg uses in a new decision. Judge Boasberg begins this way:

"Plaintiff Daniel Virtue is something of a collector."

See how that works? We are immediately drawn in to find out more: what does he collect? There's a hint of something, well, mysterious here. We can almost discern a cocked eyebrow in the judge, a bit of drollery, before the mystery is solved as follows:

"Over the course of his employment with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with his local union, and as a rank-and-file Teamster, he has collected memberships in at least four Teamsters-affiliated pension plans. In this lawsuit, he seeks to acquire membership in (and benefits from) a fifth IBT pension fund. Unfortunately for Virtue, his quest to assemble a complete portfolio of IBT pension plans ends here."

And see how that paragraph ends, emphatically, with the definitive "ends here." That is the sound of a door shutting and a lock being turned with a hard click.



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