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Why do lawyers refer to long documents as briefs and
18-year olds as infants? Why do they use so much Latin when so few of their
clients are Ancient Romans? Is it a conspiracy?


Party of the First Part has the answers! Check out the Website for the
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Sunday, November 4, 2007

I hear canons


Canons of construction, that is. The Concurring Opinions blog reports on a recent Supreme Court argument that focused entirely on the meaning of the words "any other law enforcement officer" in the Federal Tort Claims Act. Those words come at the end of a list -- and whenever there is a list in a statute or regulation, it raises potential questions of statutory interpretation.


When the Supreme Court issues its decision, we'll find out if the Justices relied on such arcane doctrines as ejusdem generis or noscitur a sociis. In the meantime, read more at Concurring Opinions -- or POFP's past column about statutory interpretation (in the context of environmental law), here.

4 comments:

Ken Adams said...

Adam: I wouldn't bank on the Supreme Court's having anything sensible to say about canons of construction. After all, in Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20 (2003), the court referred to the "grammatical" rule of the last antecedent. One thing it isn't is a rule of grammar, as I explain in this article. Ken

Adam Freedman said...

Well put! Thanks for the link to your article, it's a great read.

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