Chief Justice Roberts relates a telling story from his 1981 clerkship for then-Justice William Rehnquist. Upon reviewing Roberts' draft, Rehnquist circled vast amounts of the Roberts effort and instructed him to put that material in the footnotes.
"So I went back and gave him a draft with all that stuff in footnotes," whereupon Rehnquist "looked at it and said, 'Fine, now cut out all the footnotes.' "
Message to the then-law clerk and future chief justice: It can always be shorter.
From "Skip The Legalese And Keep It Short, Justices Say" by Nina Totenberg. Read the full story here.