Prepare to defend court victories politically: Winning in court often isn’t enough, as opponents can mount attempts through legislatures or at the ballot to reverse good decisions and otherwise try to delegitimize the win. State constitutional amendments nullified court victories in Hawaii in the 1990s and stripped away the freedom to marry in California in 2008.  Advocates should be completely prepared to fight back against efforts to overturn the rulings, and should also work post-victory to allay concerns, refute falsehoods, and solidify support so as to leverage the win. In Massachusetts, for example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court victory on the freedom to marry was immediately followed by attempts in the legislature to pass a constitutional amendment repealing the freedom to marry. Without the strong leadership of MassEquality, supported by national groups and funders, and many months of public education work and organizing across the state, the nation’s first marriage state could have been a short-lived triumph. Similarly, in New Mexico in 2013, we prepared for an eventual state Supreme Court ruling on marriage by launching one of our joint campaigns, New Mexico United for Marriage, focused singularly on protecting the ruling, organizing in the legislature, and directing state-wide attention to the joy brought on by the freedom to marry.
Rules of criminal or civil procedure govern the conduct of a lawsuit in the common law adversarial system of dispute resolution. Procedural rules are constrained and informed by separate statutory laws, case laws, and constitutional provisions that define the rights of the parties to a lawsuit (see especially due process), though the rules generally reflect this legal context on their face. The details of the procedure differ greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and often from court to court even within the same jurisdiction. These rules of the particular procedures are very important for litigants to know, because the litigants are the ones who dictate the timing and progression of the lawsuit. Litigants are responsible to obtain the suited result and the timing of reaching this result. Failure to comply with the procedural rules may result in serious limitations that can affect the ability of one to present claims or defenses at any subsequent trial, or even promote the dismissal of the lawsuit altogether.
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