April 20, 2015

Writing For the Lay Audience: Justice Elena Kagan's Subversive Rhetoric

Laura Ray, Widener University School of Law, has published 'The Hindrance of a Law Degree': Justice Kagan on Law and Experience at 74 Maryland Law Review Endnotes 10 (2015). Here is the abstract.

In her brief tenure on the Supreme Court, Justice Elena Kagan has already proved to be an innovative opinion writer who enlivens her opinions with colloquial diction, metaphors drawn from common experience, and invitations to the reader to participate in her analytic process. Those rhetorical strategies reflect her belief that Supreme Court opinions can and should be accessible to lay readers as well as trained lawyers. They also reflect a more subversive position, that legal doctrine itself should be grounded in common experience and therefore understandable by non-lawyers who are already capable of assessing issues of responsibility and fairness. 

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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