I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Some observations about “shifting sands” arguments

I’m sure someone out there will find this group of quotes handy for some future brief-writing project.

The shifting sands of this argument are distressing. Even in this court it is difficult to pin down exactly what the Infelises’ contentions are and what the support for their argument is.

United States v. Infelise, 159 F.3d 300, 305 (7th Cir. 1998).
We are troubled at the outset of our consideration of this matter by the lack of focus in defendant’s arguments and the shifting sands of his position.
United States v. Pressley, 978 F.2d 1026, 1028 (8th Cir. 1992).

In the face of this mandate, the rocks of defendant’s arguments are no more than shifting sands.
State ex rel. Rohrer v. Credle, 322 N.C. 522, 534, 369 S.E.2d 825, 832 (1988).
Indeed, we witnessed firsthand the shifting sands of Land’s case at oral argument, when Land’s counsel conceded, after questioning from the bench, that his reference in the complaint to a violation of Article III, section 1 of the Constitution was a “misstatement” and that Article III has nothing to do with this case.
Land v. Chicago Truck Drivers, Helpers & Warehouse Workers Union (Indep.) Health & Welfare Fund, 25 F.3d 509, 517-18 (7th Cir. 1994).
The architecture of the defendant’s argument may look pleasing to the eye of the casual observer, but it is as rickety as a house built upon the shifting sands. It lacks any solid foundation.
Ferris v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 645 F. Supp. 1354, 1358 (D.R.I. 1986).

Unfortunately, petitioner’s counsel has added more confusion than clarity to the mix. Arguments advanced resemble shifting sands, ever changing from the initial pleadings to the oral argument to the memorandum in opposition filed thereafter.

Pigott v. Farquharson, CIV. A. 97-11620-RCL, 1998 WL 426045 (D. Mass. Mar. 16, 1998).

You might surmise that I’m somewhat frustrated in responding to a brief that presents wildly inconsistent arguments, depending on what part of the argument is being made.

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