Though the majority of lawsuits are settled before ever reaching a state of trial, they can still be very complicated to litigate. This is particularly true in federal systems, where a federal court may be applying state law (e.g. the Erie doctrine, for example in the United States), or vice versa. It is also possible for one state to apply the law of another in cases where additionally it may not be clear which level (or location) of court actually has jurisdiction over the claim or personal jurisdiction over the defendant, or whether the plaintiff has standing to participate in a lawsuit. About 98 percent of civil cases in the United States federal courts are resolved without a trial. Domestic courts are also often called upon to apply foreign law, or to act upon foreign defendants, over whom they may not even have the ability to even enforce a judgment if the defendant's assets are theoretically outside their reach.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common for lawyers to speak of bringing an "action" at law and a "suit" in equity. An example of that distinction survives today in the text of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The fusion of common law and equity in England in the Judicature Acts of 1873 and 1875 led to the collapse of that distinction, so it became possible to speak of a "lawsuit." In the United States, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (1938) abolished the distinction between actions at law and suits in equity in federal practice, in favor of a single form referred to as a "civil action."
Litigation was the pathway to the freedom to marry in many states. It often takes a judge to challenge prevailing assumptions (and even prejudice) that political decision-makers such as legislators or voters may be more unwilling to overcome. Early on, we won in state courts, first in Hawaii in the 1990s, then in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Iowa. Later, we won in federal court, first in California, then in Utah, Oklahoma, and beyond, all the way up to the Supreme Court. In total, 25 of our final state victories (aside from the 13 final states we won at the U.S. Supreme Court) came through judicial rulings – 5 in state court and the rest in federal court. Most of these court wins came through our movement’s legal arm – the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights – while a significant share were initiated by private attorneys and assisted by growing numbers of law firms eager to join in the progress. Several of these victories, though, were stripped away by political attack, and most of them would not have happened had we not built momentum in public understanding and even the politics of the marriage debate, creating the climate for the courts to rule in our favor and ensure that the public and elected officials would accept the outcome.
The National Liberty Alliance (NLA) is a proactive organization. You must do your homework, study the law, and be willing to put in the effort and time for your own paperwork. We DO NOT provide legal advice in anyway. If you do not want to learn the law and you want someone else to do the work for you, then you should consider other options than those on this site. But, if you want to help us stop judges and attorneys from stealing children, homes, and money from the people, then join us and register. If these things have happen to you, rest assured you are not alone. Many of our members have had children stolen, homes robbed, and many other injustices happen to them. Please make sure to signup so we can all make a difference.
5. Be like Clint Eastwood. “Look out for the jurors in the box. If Juror No. 3 is having a coughing fit, suggest a break or ask the judge if the juror can have a cup of water. Bless sneezes. An attorney who represents the National Enquirer told me about a trial in which the tabloid was sued by Clint Eastwood. During the actor’s testimony, an elderly juror sneezed. Eastwood stopped in the middle of his sentence and turned to the juror, meeting her rheumy brown eyes with his piercing blue ones. ‘God bless you, ma’am,’ he said. As she melted, the attorney for the magazine knew he’d lost the case.”