I believe that when there is no courtroom trial, the usual briefing procedure is to have a plaintiff’s (or appellant’s or petitioner’s) “opening” brief which is answered by the defendant’s (or appellee’s or respondent’s) “answering” brief which is answered by the plaintiff’s “reply” brief — at least that is the usual kind of procedure in the federal appeals courts and the Supreme Court (the appellants in an appeals court and the petitioners in the Supreme Court can be either the original plaintiffs or the original defendants). The reason why the plaintiff gets the last word is that the plaintiff has the heavier burden of proof. The post-trial briefs in the Dover case consisted of “opening” briefs from both sides followed just by “answering” briefs from both sides (there were no “replies” to the “answers”), and the “opening” briefs were proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” briefs which are much different in format from regular opening briefs (for example, a proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” brief could be just a list of numbered items) — see the last items here (the plaintiffs also submitted a brief supporting their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law).
The Discovery Institute has shown that most of the ID-as-science section of the Dover opinion was copied almost verbatim from just the plaintiffs’ opening post-trial brief, “Plaintiffs’ Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law” — see this. This was extremely one-sided and also showed that Jones did no independent thinking. Some people have this strange idea that judicial opinions are supposed to present only the winning side’s arguments and completely ignore the losing side’s arguments. What if the new Dover Area school board had pulled a switcheroo and decided to appeal (they said they wanted to get Jones' opinion, so why not go all the way and get the appeals courts' opinion -- and maybe even the SC's opinion?)? Then the Dover opinion would have gone to the appeals court without answers to the defendants' arguments regarding the question of whether ID is science.
Labels: Judge Jones (1 of 2)