UC Law SF Journal on Gender and Justice


Valerie Karno


As a fiction writer and a reader of judicial opinions, I have observed that judicial opinion writing and fiction have many parallels--both are narratives, both put order to perception, and both communicate from an author to a reader through language. However, despite these lingual similarities, I feel alienated when I read judicial opinions, and I turn to fiction reading and writing for comfort and validation. And so curiosity and frustration have led to this exploration. I want to know what it is about judicial opinions that is alienating, and what it is about fiction that is validating. I then want to incorporate the validating factors of fiction into judicial opinions so I, and others like me, do not feel alienated. It is possible to include previously excluded voices in judicial opinions. We can do this by changing our medium of expression, and integrating individual narrative into opinions.