Cal. Litig. 2015, Volume 28, Number 2

Curious Clerks and the Case of the Yellow Hat

By Paula Mitchell

Paula Mitchell

When an appellate court is asked to review a decision that leaves critical fact questions open or unclear, or where the parties’ briefs fail to provide the court with sufficient context — what Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner calls "comprehension-enhancing facts (which help the reader understand a case)" — many judges and law clerks are quick to turn to the Internet to clarify an issue, enhance their comprehension, or confirm their intuition. (See, e.g., Thornburg, The Lure of the Internet and the Limits on Judicial Fact Research (2012) 38:4 A.B.A. Litigation, 40, 41.)

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