Here’s what is on the Court’s calendar for this week:

  • Labor Day (Monday)

  • The state bar’s Advanced Civil Appellate Seminar (Thursday & Friday). Three of the Justices will be speaking at a panel on Thursday morning, and Justice Hecht will be delivering the “Texas Supreme Court Update.”

Oral argument advice from Justice Mosely

Justice Jim Mosely of the Dallas Court has written “How To Deal with Questions from the Bench.”

There’s some good advice here, starting with the equation “question = opportunity.” If your preparation time is spent polishing a speech instead of thinking about questions, you are missing what’s unique about appellate argument. Justice Mosely breaks down possible questions into four broad categories and offers some suggestions for dealing with each.

Along the way, he made a point that I hadn’t seen put quite this way. The usual advice, of course, is to respond directly to questions. But:

There’s one exception to the direct response rule: “Your honor, to answer your question I have to go outside the record.” If counsel doesn’t alert the court to that situation, he risks a counterattack from opposing counsel and a possible loss of credibility.

If a complete or direct answer would take you outside the record, alerting the Court gives them a chance to decide whether they really want to know (as for a policy question) — or whether they want to focus on the procedural limits of the appellate record.

Don’t Mess With Texas State Court Documents

Rachael Samberg at the Stanford Law Library has a blog post about Texas’s efforts to preserve judicial records: “Don’t mess with Texas state court documents”