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New Hampshire is a small New England state but it carries a lot of national clout. Most Americans envy natives of New Hampshire for their license plates; few people can claim their license plate carries as cool a slogan as “Live Free or Die.” Its presidential primary is often seen as the bellwether for the national election. During the general election New Hampshire is often the first state to report its results. Polls in New Hampshire open at midnight on Election Day, and can close when the district decides that all registered voters have already voted. This usually gives New Hampshire election officials the ability to announce results far in advance of any other state.
New Hampshire has approximately 3,700 lawyers. All New Hampshire attorneys are licensed to practice anywhere in the state, but the vast majority of New Hampshire attorneys rarely litigate full trials. This is true of the entire attorney profession.
The New Hampshire judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, Superior Court, and District Court. The District Court is the primary trial court and also includes a separate family and probate division. Many states separate family and probate from their trial courts. Family and probate (wills and inheritance) cases are common cases with their own peculiar laws and procedures; separating them allows judges familiar with the law to hear them, and lightens the load on the District Court.
New Hampshire is one of a handful of states that controls the sale of alcohol through state run liquor stores. New Hampshire earns over $100 million a year annually by selling alcohol. New Hampshire’s sale of alcohol on Sundays is also rare in New England; many Massachusetts residents who failed to adequately prepare for their Sunday New England Patriots barbecues often find themselves driving to New Hampshire to buy the necessary provisions.
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New Hampshire also has its place in 1st amendment jurisprudence. Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire was the first case to enunciate the fighting words doctrine. The Court ruled that under the 1st amendment, words which purvey no substantive meaning and are only meant to harass or intimidate can be made illegal. The term “fighting words” arose to generally refer to this doctrine, and although the holding of the case has been limited in recent years, the central ruling remains undisturbed.
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