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Unpublished opinions Re “unpublished opinions: At last, a citability rule” by Bennett L. Gershman [ NLJ, May 22]: Two extremely distinguished judges deserve great credit for this emphasis on quality and transparency in appellate court rulings. Former Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals died on May 19, and former Chief Judge Richard S. Arnold of the 8th Circuit died on Sept. 23, 2004. The refrain, “Only the good die [too] young,” seems fitting. While working on an American Bar Association resolution about appellate opinions in late 1999, I wrote to both judges. I was thrilled when Chief Judge Becker called to indicate that he supported my position. In a Nov. 1, 1999, letter, he stated: “I strongly endorse your first four recommendations.” The recommendations included that case dispositions set out the facts, the issues presented and the basis for the ruling. Chief Judge Arnold’s response was heartfelt. In an Oct. 25, 1999, letter, he explained, “Let me warn you that my views are distinctly in a minority among judges . . . .[At a March 1998 meeting of chief circuit judges,] we discussed [various] proposals, . . . including a proposal to acknowledge that all opinions have precedential value. I believe I am correct in recalling that no one at the meeting favored the proposal except me.” A major part of the legacy of these two judges should include the appreciation, as now acknowledged by the adoption of Fed. R. App. P. 32.1, that all opinions are important and may be cited. Elaine Mittleman Falls Church, Va. Laptops in the classroom Law school professors who ban laptops in their classrooms are putting their own egos before their students’ interests. “No logoff in fight over laptops in class” [ NLJ, June 26]. Before laptops, students could doodle in class, even read magazines behind their casebooks. Short of having monitors go around the room trying to find students who are “misusing laptops,” there is no way to police this. The technology is there. Eighty percent of my students take notes on their computers. In my 31 years of teaching I have learned that if you have respect for students, they will treat you with respect, and that if you make class worthwhile, they will prepare, attend and pay attention. If you have silly rules, they will not. Ann Lousin Chicago The writer is a professor at John Marshall Law School.

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