The Brave New World of Authorities to Cite

The Rhode Island lead pigment case that I’ve discussed in the past —

has an interesting citation on p. 5.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court cites a variety of authorities for the proposition that the Court’s role is limited and the proper exercise of judicial restraint, including Justice Cardozo in his book on The Nature of Judicial Process, a series of Rhode Island decisions — and the the answers of John Roberts, Jr. to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s questionnaire when he was nominated to the Supreme Court.  ( – start looking around p. 22, where now Chief Justice Roberts summarizes his views of the role of an appellate judge).

I’ve never seen a judicial questionnaire cited before in a published decision.  Will answers by nominees to questions in judiciary committee hearings also be cited?  For what propositions? 

The internet has given us all easy access to many, many more authorities than in the past, and every appellate conference I’ve gone to recently has discussed the impact of this development on how we research and brief an appeal.  It is a brave new world – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  We just need to recognize that citing the old A.2d isn’t all that’s out there any more, and there’s nothing wrong about getting creative if the cite is authentic, authoritative, and on point.    

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