Doubt in Judicial Opinions
One enjoyable aspect of researching Bushrod Washington is that many of his opinions are written in an unusual style. By unusual I mean that they express doubt about whether their conclusion is correct. This is not something that you see in a typical opinion (then or now).
I wonder why. There is an adage that judges write opinions as if they are 100% certain even if they are 51% certain. I can see some instances in which expressing doubt openly would make the opinion less persuasive or less authoritative. But I can also think of cases where candor might make the end result more convincing by communicating the difficulty of the issues and emphasizing the care given to the competing arguments. I find Washington’s tack (even if it was just rhetorical) charming.