“Clarity of thought is a must for brevity in speech.” Somali K. Chakrabarti

The questions presented page is assuredly the most important element of a Supreme Court petition.  Justices can reject an entire case based on review of the questions alone.  Rule 14.1 provides that they should be “expressed concisely in relation to the circumstances of the case, without unnecessary detail.”

questionLengthy questions provide extraneous detail and additional work for an already overburdened court staff.  “

[T]his amounts to an admonition to ban all ‘unnecessary’ words or details from the question, leaving it concise, understandable, and easily readable.”  Supreme Court Practice – 9th ed., Eugene Gressman, et al.

Here’s a sampling of 10 concise questions upon which the Supreme Court granted certiorari this term.  Note the brevity therein.

Bank Markazi v. Peterson, No. 14-770

Does §8772—a statute that effectively directs a particular result in a single pending case—violate the separation of powers?

RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. The European Community, No. 15-138

To what extent does the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) apply extraterritorially?

MHN Gov’t Servs. Inc., v. Zaborowski, No. 14-1458

Is California’s arbitration-only severability rule preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA)?

Franchise Tax Bd. of CA v. Hyatt, No. 14-1175

May Nevada refuse to extend to sister States haled into Nevada courts the same immunities Nevada enjoys in those courts?

Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, No. 15-415

Are “service advisors” at car dealerships exempt under 29 U.S.C. §213(b)(10)(A) from the FLSA’s overtime-pay requirements?

Birchfield v. North Dakota, Nos. 14-1468, 14-1470, 14-1507

In the absence of a warrant, may a State make it a crime for a driver to refuse to take a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in the driver’s blood?

Heffernan v. City of Paterson, No. 14-1280

Does the First Amendment bar the government from demoting a public employee based on a supervisor’s perception that the employee supports a political candidate?

Hurst v. Florida, No. 14-7505

Does Florida’s death sentencing scheme violate the Sixth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment in light of this Court’s decision in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002)?

Ocasio v. United States, No. 14-361

Does a conspiracy to commit extortion — as defined by the Hobbs Act — require that the conspirators agree to obtain property from someone outside the conspiracy?

Puerto Rico v. Valle, No. 15-108

Are the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Federal Government separate sovereigns for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the United States Constitution?