Writing 43: The Written Judicial Opinion

Course Description

21F: 12.

Curious about how, why and what judges write what they write?  Want to understand the craft of rhetoric, persuasive writing and argument?  This course studies the structure, content, format, and organization of the written legal opinion, along with an introduction to judicial procedure and process, to answer these two questions. Topics include how judges write their legal opinions, which factors judges consider when they write judicial opinions, and how the political and social norms and trends affect and influence judicial opinions. In particular, students in this course study the rhetoric of current Supreme Court justices, though we learn much from those who have come before them.  Students will learn the technical skills of judicial opinion writing and comprehend the structure and purpose of the American judicial system. This class is recommended for those interested in writing, law, the U.S. Supreme Court and the American judicial system.  It is especially appropriate for those students considering a career in law and/or policy, but students of all majors and disciplinary interests have enjoyed this course tremendously over the years.

Prerequisite: Writing 5 or its equivalent (Writing 2-3 or Humanities 1). Dist: SOC. Sargent.