Logical Transition Examples—To Extract the Essence

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Need to focus your discussion or distill the main point for your reader? Here are a few phrases you can use to signal “it’s time to pay attention” to your reader.

  • Case citations have been replaced by “. . .” to shorten these passages and to allow you to digest them more easily.

At bottom

  1. Example from Justice Scalia: “But we need not address the Government’s contentions, because Jones’s Fourth Amendment rights do not rise or fall with the Katz formulation. At bottom, we must ‘assur[e] preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted.’”
  2. Example from Chief Justice Roberts: “The authority expressly conferred by Congress in the international realm cannot be said to ‘invite’ the Presidential action at issue here. . . . At bottom, none of the sources of authority identified by the United States supports the President’s claim that Congress has acquiesced in his asserted power to establish on his own federal law or to override state law.”
  3. Example from David Frederick: “Paying salaries is a reality of the government acting as an employer. At bottom, it cannot be that all topics with fiscal effects necessarily raise matters ‘of legitimate public concern.’”

At its core

  1. Example from Neal Katyal: “The Case-or-Controversy requirement constrains the judicial power to ‘the traditional role of Anglo-American courts,’ . . . , and ensures that courts resolve questions only where ‘necess[ary] in the determination of’ a ‘vital controversy,’ . . . At its core, that rule requires a party that exercises the privileges of a litigant to demonstrate at least a minimal legal interest in the outcome of the suit.”
  2. Example from Paul Clement: “As noted, severability analysis is, at its core, an inquiry into legislative intent. A proper application of the correct severability analysis reveals that the individual mandate not only was central to ‘the original legislative bargain’ that produced the ACA, . . . , but also was deliberately designed to work as an essential complement to the Act’s other core provisions to achieve Congress’ overarching objective of near-universal insurance coverage.”
  3. Example from Justice Roberts: “Here, the unusual nature of the relief sought by petitioners suggests that habeas is not appropriate. Habeas is at its core a remedy for unlawful executive detention. . . . The typical remedy is, of course, release.”

At its root

  1. Example from then-Chief Justice Rehnquist:At its root, the Double Jeopardy Clause forbids the duplicative prosecution of a defendant for the ‘same offence.’”
  2. Example from Chief Judge Barron: But, the question of whether the object of the conspiracy charged here was the federal government is a factual one for the jury. At its root then, his argument is that there was insufficient evidence for a juror to have concluded that he conspired with others to defraud the FDA. As Conigliaro has not brought such a challenge, we do not consider whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction under § 371.”
  3. Example from Chief Judge Smith: “Second, MHCS has shown traceability. The entirety of the legal dispute between the parties is, at its root, dependent on the Pledge; Commerce could not sue MHCS under the Acknowledgment unless Commerce had obtained a right to McGowen’s shares under the Pledge. Thus, the attempted enforcement of the Acknowledgment (which is dependent on the Pledge) establishes the requisite causation—that MHCS’s injury is fairly traceable to Commerce.”

In effect

  1. Example from Justice Kagan: “And those newly favored plans, once again, are simply those ‘maintained by a principal purpose organization’—irrespective of their origins. In effect, Congress provided that the new phrase can stand in for the old one as follows: ‘The term “church plan” means a plan established and maintained by a church [a plan maintained by a principal-purpose organization].’ The church-establishment condition thus drops out of the picture.”
  2. Example from David Frederick: “Reversing the Eighth Circuit’s judgment would require this Court to read back into the statute words that Congress deleted. That, however, ‘is not a construction of a statute, but, in effect, an enlargement of it by the court, so that what was omitted, [petitioner and the government] presum[e] by inadvertence, may be included within its scope. To supply omissions transcends the judicial function.’”
  3. Example from Kannon Shanmugam: “A public-availability requirement is consistent with the fundamental compromise underlying our Nation’s patent system. A patent, in effect, is a trade. An inventor gives the public a useful invention and gets a monopoly in exchange.”

In essence

  1. Example from Justice Kagan: “The employees themselves do not contest that point: They offer no account of what function that language would serve on their proposed interpretation. . . . In essence, the employees ask us to treat those words as stray marks on a page— notations that Congress regrettably made but did not really intend.”
  2. Example from Chief Justice Roberts: “But the challenged loan forgiveness program goes beyond even that. In essence, the Secretary has drafted a new section of the Education Act from scratch by ‘waiving’ provisions root and branch and then filling the empty space with radically new text.”
  3. Example from Justice Gorsuch: “Here, the District suggests that any visible religious conduct by a teacher or coach should be deemed—without more and as a matter of law—impermissibly coercive on students. In essence, the District asks us to adopt the view that the only acceptable government role models for students are those who eschew any visible religious expression.”

In the end

  1. Example from Justice Kagan: “In a footnote, we observed that the Sereboffs had forfeited a ‘distinct assertion’ that the contract-based relief Mid Atlantic requested, although ‘equitable,’ was not ‘appropriate’ under §502(a)(3) because ‘it contravened principles like the make-whole doctrine.’ . . . Enter McCutchen, to make that basic argument. In the end, however, Sereboff ’s logic dooms McCutchen’s effort. US Airways, like Mid Atlantic, is seeking to enforce the modern-day equivalent of an ‘equitable lien by agreement.’ And that kind of lien—as its name announces— both arises from and serves to carry out a contract’s provisions.”
  2. Example from Justice Gorsuch: “Conspicuously, the one place in the statute where the government needs per-account language to appear is the one place it does not. In the end, the government’s per-account theory faces not just a single expressio unius challenge but two.”
  3. Example from David Frederick:In the end, the purpose of exclusions is to reduce tax liability, not to increase it. By cross-referencing gross income exclusions in the RRTA, Congress made doubly sure that it reduced a railroad employee’s potential tax burden.”

The bottom line is that

  1. Example from Justice Kagan: “And that possibility may discourage invention in the first instance. The bottom line, Kimble concludes, is that some ‘breakthrough technologies will never see the light of day.’ . . . Maybe. Or, then again, maybe not. While we recognize that post-patent royalties are sometimes not anticompetitive, we just cannot say whether barring them imposes any meaningful drag on innovation.”
  2. Example from Neal Katyal: “If they are brought in state court and the state court fails to dismiss them, they may be removed under Section 16(c) to federal court and must be dismissed there. . . . The bottom line is this: The preclusion provision addresses state-law covered class actions, and says that if they involve claims of particular federal concern, they cannot be maintained in any court, including state court.”
  3. Example from Paul Clement: “The result is no different here. There is no immigration exception to the general rules of preemption. The bottom line is that there is no preemption unless state law conflicts with some identifiable federal statute.”
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