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Legal-Lay CommunicationTextual Travels in the Law$
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Chris Heffer, Frances Rock, and John Conley

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199746842

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746842.001.0001

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Troubling the Legal–Lay Distinction

Troubling the Legal–Lay Distinction

Litigant Briefs, Oral Argument, and a Public Hearing about Same-Sex Marriage

Chapter:
(p.226) Chapter 11 Troubling the Legal–Lay Distinction
Source:
Legal-Lay Communication
Author(s):

Karen Tracy

Erica L. Delgadillo

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199746842.003.0011

By examining the discourse of legal and non-legal communicators across a variety of venues as participants forwarded arguments about a specific issue ? the Lewis v Harris issue of whether or not same-sex marriage should be legal ? Tracy and Delgadillo evidence the problematic character of the legal-lay distinction. They look closely at oral and written discourses of New Jersey State Supreme Court judges and attorneys, lay speakers and lobbying groups, and elected officials, showing which features and facets of whose discourse traveled across contexts. They find that whether a party is marginalized or mainstream is a better predictor of narrative use than whether they are a legal or lay speaker. In particular, when a legal issue involves how a category of person ought to be treated then stories become a useful tool for overcoming otherness.

Keywords:   Recontextualization, legal-lay communication, same-sex marriage, oral arguments, judicial discourse, narrative, narrative and paradigmatic styles, membership categories, language and marginalization

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