Some of my veteran readers may remember my posting on Fisher v. Lowe, a 13 line Michigan court decision distinguished only by the fact that it is presented in rhyming couplets. It's funny in of itself, but I never thought it would have any real significance, classroom or otherwise.
But alas, today I was proven wrong, as my Political Science professor used Fisher to press on the issue of what makes something recognizably a judicial opinion (drawing from Stanley Fish, Working on the Chain Gang: Interpretation in Law and Literature, 60 Tex. L. Rev. 551 (1982)). Because while Fisher is certainly not a classic opinion, most people, upon reading it, would recognize it as one--especially if they saw it in a legalistic context (e.g., a reporter). But of course, not everything a judge writes would be so recognized--if a judge sent West a copy of his grocery list and said "report this", there would probably be some push back.
So what about it? What makes an opinion recognizably judicial?