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Classical rhetorical techniques can enhance the persuasiveness of Supreme Court opinions by making their language clear, lively, and memorable. This book focuses on three techniques-"invention" (creation of arguments), "arrangement" (organization), and "style" (word choice)-in the work of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Robert Jackson, Hugo Black, William Brennan, and Antonin Scalia, respectively. The justices featured here contributed to the Court's rhetorical legacy in different ways, but all five rejected the magisterial opinion style of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in favor of a more personal and conversational format. As a result, their opinions have endured, and even modern readers who cannot recall the justices' names understand and embrace the ideas expressed in their legal writings and apply those ideas to current debates. Practicing lawyers, professors, and students can use this book to study legal writing techniques and make their own writing more persuasive.
About the Author
Brian L. Porto is professor of law at Vermont Law School