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When you find a favorable precedent, you are ecstatic. Not only are you pleased that the court ruled as it did but you are certain the court ruled correctly because you believe your client is in the right or was wronged. Sometimes you express your enthusiasm in an editorial comment, as in the following sentence from a brief:

The Supreme Court correctly recognized that any change in the law would have to be made by the legislature.

The Supreme Court probably was correct, but it is not for you to say. You don’t have the stature. Claiming stature you don’t have suggests you may claim other things you don’t have, such as a good case. It taints your “ethos,” your credibility as an advocate.

Suppose you delete “correctly”:

The Supreme Court recognized that any change in the law would have to be made by the legislature.

This is still an aggressive approach, but within bounds. To “recognize” something is to observe the truth of it. To say the Court observed the truth of something is to imply that you know the truth and can judge whether others know it as well. In other words, you place yourself in a position from which to judge the Court.

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