The opinion, written by Justice Thomas McHugh, said lawyers' use of "creative methods" to get the court to hear an appeal has increased since December 2010. That is when the court began to issue a full opinion or a short memorandum decision in every single case before it. But, McHugh warned, "nothing has changed as to the professional responsibility of lawyers to proceed only on meritorious issues."
The second problem the court tried to address Monday seems to be general sloppiness from some members of the bar.
"We're seeing a lot of appeals - numerous appeals - where there's no citation of legal authority for the argument and where there is just mere skeleton argument, where the argument is just thrown together haphazard and where the appendix record is not done properly," Ketchum said.
The justices are particularly keen on having a proper appendix in briefs. The index helps them and their clerks go through the often-lengthy court records to find key information on the case.
Some lawyers do this well, Ketchum said.
"But if it's all thrown in a box and we have to go through the whole box trying to figure out what they are doing, it wastes hours and hours and hours of time," Ketchum said.
Other problems include "cutting and pasting" of material from lower court filings that don't meet the standards used by the Supreme Court and "rambling" arguments.
At least a few of the court's concerns are directed specifically at lawyers who work on behalf of children. Among the concerns, these court-appointed legal guardians are doing "repeated late filings."
The court also expressed concern about briefs in abuse and neglect cases that do not give updated information on the children's status. The court also said some briefs are being filed without the appropriate effort to remove sensitive information.