Focus field organizing on creating media moments: Litigation-related field efforts should focus on creating media moments that demonstrate support, highlight harms, and create a climate for victory. Freedom to Marry worked with state organizations in litigation states to organize groupings of supporters that we knew would be newsworthy—Florida First Responders for the Freedom to Marry, Texas Faith Leaders for the Freedom to Marry, etc. Another tactic that created a media moment was launching petitions urging state attorneys general to drop their defense of anti-marriage laws (we’d pursue this only after consultation with the litigation team). The petitions – which always ended with an in-person drop-off featuring children of same-sex couples, adorably wrapped petitions, and families who needed the freedom to marry – were a creative way to build online buzz for the court cases, give supporters a way to get involved with the legal case, and earn some strong media attention that underlined the overarching messages of the campaign. We’d look to identify the most compelling personal stories that we thought might impact the public. Additionally, we’d organize Town Hall meetings as a focus point to gather supporters and provide a platform for newsworthy supporters and people with compelling stories.
You won't win a lawsuit by simply striding into the courthouse and demanding money from your opponent. Each type oflegal claimhas a number of "elements" that you'll need to prove in order to win. For example, in a dispute over a contract, you must prove that a contract existed, that you held up your end of the bargain, that your opponent failed to meet his or her contractual obligations, and that you were harmed as a result. You'll want to plan ahead carefully to make sure that you can prove every element of your case -- or, if you are defending yourself against a lawsuit, to make sure that you can disprove at least one element of your opponent's case.
Certain types of cases can only be heard by judges. In many cases, however,either party hasthe right to request that the case be heard by a jury. Most people representing themselves will do better in front of a judge than a jury -- jury trials are more complicated for a variety of reasons, and presenting your case to a judge will make your job quite a bit easier. However, if your opponent requests a jury trial, you will have to deal with a jury, whether you want one or not.
Fourteen defendants, including parents and one coach, have pleaded guilty in the college cheating scandal. Actress Felicity Huffman is among those to plead guilty in what prosecutors call the largest college admissions scam uncovered in U.S. history. They are among 50 people who allegedly schemed to cheat college exams and pay $25 million in bribes to buy the children of affluent Americans seats in well-known universities including Yale and Georgetown. CNBC's Robert Frank reports.
However, the students and their parents suing UT and other schools allege in their complaint that "each of the universities were negligent in failing to maintain adequate protocols and security measures in place to guarantee the sanctity of the college admissions process, and to ensure that their own employees were not engaged in these type of bribery schemes."
Tell the story behind the litigation: At the heart of litigation efforts are stories of injustice to real people. Our campaigns have sought to use the emotional resonance of the injustice of real stories as crucial ways to make our case and grow support. Edie Windsor in the DOMA case was a compelling figure – and with a smart media strategy behind her, her story became a face of the injustice of DOMA and the need to dismantle it once and for all. While the media loves covering the ins and outs of the court process and politics, what moves hearts and minds are people’s actual stories. It’s certainly wise to elevate the story that’s being discussed in the litigation. It’s also wise to identify and amplify similar stories of injustice in the state and across the country similar to the story being considered in court.
8. “Courts are constituted by authority and they cannot go beyond that power delegated to them. If they act beyond that authority, and certainly in contravention of it, their judgements and orders are regarded as nullities; they are not voidable, but simply void, and this even prior to reversal.” Williamson v. Berry, 8 HOW. 945, 540 12 L.Ed. 1170, 1189 (1850).