Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

appeal day

I am home from a whirlwind trip to San Francisco. I argued a case this morning in the First Appellate District, which holds court in the same courtroom used by the California Supreme Court, on McAllister. I had never argued in this courtroom before. A huge mural of a California outdoor scene with the Sierras in the back is placed high on the wall, behind the justices.

I like arguing appeals because they take place in the realm of "pure law". The universe of facts is defined by a transcribed "record". The issue is usually what the facts mean legally, or whether the facts were presented correctly procedurally. Arguments begin with "may it please the court" and case citations blend with hypotheticals and pointed questions.

I prepared my argument the evening before, rather than try to link up with any friends, which was just as well, as Priceline put me in a pleasant but non-extraordinary Holiday Inn in South San Francisco rather than in one of those nice Sheratons or Hiltons in Burlingame beside the shorebird-filled scenic hiking walk. What a difference three blocks can make.

When I got on the shuttle to go to the hotel, I checked with the shuttle driver to ask if I was getting on the right shuttle for the right Holiday Inn, as I know there are about three airport Holiday Inns in SF. He checked my address, and said I was on the right bus. Then he advised me that, if I ever stayed at this Holiday Inn again, I should ask for the "Holiday Inn Holy Hands". I sat with rapt attention, expecting a charming little chapel right beside the hotel--perfect for the eloping-couple-to-be, I imagine. Instead, I found that the Holiday Inn incorporated a Houlihan's restaurant.

After my oral argument, I stopped by a sidewalk vendor called "Roti-rolli", who sold me a 1/4 rotisserie chicken and yellow roasted potatoes. Then I rode the BART train back to the airport, caught the 1:30 p.m. flight home, on which I read the end of "Chasm City", the science fiction novel about a virus that made all the machines and buildings go all chaotic. This week I keep running up on the term "oneiric", as if I were in a dream about vocabulary.

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