This term, I've added a new feature. In the race to find nationwide, and largely abstract meaning for Supreme Court cases, we often gloss over the fact that behind these cases are real people and real problems. In the introduction of David M. Dorsen's biography of Henry Friendly, he writes that "[b]y the time a case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court...all the facts are drained from it and the issues are almost abstract questions of constitutional or statutory law." So I've tried, when possible, to provide a peek behind the curtain, so to speak, as a means of reinserting some of the facts into the case. Two of the ways you'll see this incorporated into my posts are through "did you know" boxes (example) and imagery (example). As other ways present themselves, I'll look into making additional changes as necessary (or requested).
Finally, some disclaimers and caveats. I think it's pretty obvious, but I'll say it anyway, that I cannot, in 200-250 words, adequately explain in detail what it takes a learned Supreme Court justice 20 or 30 or 40 pages to do. By necessity, I have simplified the legal arguments, omitted dicta, and glossed over technical issues that are not immediately relevant to the specific holding. If you're looking for more detail than I can provide within the confines of the post, I urge you to contact me directly, or head to one of the resources I link to within my post. Additionally, I try very hard to keep my Plain English posts straightforward and non-political. While political factors are inevitably intertwined in any given decision, and while I have my own thoughts on any given decision (which I may often write about in other posts), I would prefer to keep Plain English as unencumbered by outside considerations as possible. Lastly, again, pretty obvious, but I'll say it anyway, I am a law student, not a lawyer (yet). Nothing on my blog should be construed as legal advice. I cannot say with certainty that my analysis of any decision is 100% correct. This is an art, not a science. Other intelligent people, some with law degrees and many years of practice, may disagree with me. Or, they might agree with me (I tend to like it better when this happens). It's even possible that I could be right and they could be wrong. These are complicated and complex issues, and that's why they're at the Supreme Court.
I have really enjoyed spending the last year working on Plain English. I hope that you have enjoyed it. As I have already written, I'm already hard at work on case pages for the new term. I hope that you will follow along this year, ask questions, and most importantly, provide feedback. Writing these pages is already a great experience for me, but when you let me know what you think, it makes a better product for everyone.