June 28, 2009

Scalia says they are "Jacobin" and "pull everything down to the street level."

What? Contractions!

Also, quit saying "Roe v. Wade and its progeny." That's annoying. And speak clearly especially when you're saying the Justice's name. And don't look at the clock when the Justice asks a question. And if that question poses a hypothetical, don't you dare say that's "not this case." He knows it's not this case, you idiot.

35 comments:

NKVD said...

Yeah, because if you abort the unborn law it won't be a progeny, or something...

EDH said...

In addition, Scalia said that legal writing with lots of italics tends to read "like a high school girl's diary."


Nevertheless, Scalia later had to admit that every time he's crept into a high school girl's bedroom, reached under her matress and picked that little lock to read her diary, he was absolutely riveted and highly persuaded.

Woops, a contraction!

John Lynch said...

"Is any judge going to get mad because you don't use contractions?"

Sounds like serious and stodgy old people talk.

Does have some relevance, since Supreme Court Justices are the ultimate elders in our society. If they aren't, who is?

blake said...

That's nut's!

traditionalguy said...

Excellent post Professor. It appears that we commenters may mostly be Jacobins. If that means that we are for a street smart guy named Jim becoming king, then I agree. But leaving out the italics is not negotiable.

NKVD said...

Blake, what are you contracting to form "nut's"?

blake said...

NKVD--

My scrote?

blake said...

NKVD--

Heh. OK, I'm apparently in a vulgar mood today.

The "nut's" was a joke. Not very funny but, "F'k 'em 'f they can't take a bad joke," I always say.

Jacob said...

My favourite: He counseled lawyers to look judges in the eye; when faced with a hypothetical panel of nine justices, advocates should not gaze solely at the ninth justice, who may be the swing vote in a 5-4 decision. "He will be embarrassed, and the other justices will be mad," Scalia explained.

Maguro said...

Scalia's right. Robespierre and his progeny were into contractions big time.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Re: not using contractions, and the commenters here being Jacobin.

There are different kinds of writing that are appropriate in different situations. My comments, and posts on my blog, tend to be somewhat colloquial. My technical writing - SOPs and work instructions, for instance - is totally different. It's like knowing how to dress for different venues, or a black person who can speak black English comfortably with family and friends but standard English on the job. Well, we all know this, of course, but I think Scalia and people like him sometimes feel that they are holding back a race to the bottom, and they may be right.

As to not looking at the ninth judge only, or not looking at the clock, or mumbling the judge's name, these are people skills 101. People skills don't always come easy to me but I can figure some of them out if I apply a little thought. I used to think that it was scientists and engineers among whom Asperger's was overly represented, but some things I've seen recently make me think that lawyers have their fair share.

rhhardin said...

I always spell out forecastle.

blake said...

Me, too!

Otherwise I end up pronouncing it "foxel".

Balfegor said...

I always spell out forecastle.

Pah! I make a point of using abbreviations like "etc", "ie," "co," "corp," "assoc," "usw," "Jas," "Jos," "Jno," "Thos," "Wm," and "Fitzwm" every chance I get. I mean, they're in the Blue Book for a reason, aren't they? Most of them, at least.

Daryl said...

Once you're at the SCOTUS level, you can forgo contractions.

But does Scalia really expect us to write appellate-level briefs (or trial court briefs!) without contractions?

Daryl said...

I don't like i.e. or e.g.

They are Latin and we don't use the underlying Latin words ordinarily. I bet 90% of attorneys don't even know all four of those Latin words.

Instead, I write "that is to say" and "for example"

Which are, of course, abbreviated t.i.t.s. and f.ex.

f.ex., consider the following sentence: The King of Pop, t.i.t.s. Michael Jackson, passed away recently.

mariner said...

Daryl:

You're just trying to get one of Althouse's prized "breast" tags.

Balfegor said...

They are Latin and we don't use the underlying Latin words ordinarily. I bet 90% of attorneys don't even know all four of those Latin words.

Honestly, to put it in the Scalian vulgar, what's the point of becoming a lawyer if you don't get to use words like scilicet and videlicet in your everyday speech? And abbreviate them as "sc" and "viz," of course. If we used clear, comprehensible English, why, we'd be no better than the laity!

knox said...

Otherwise I end up pronouncing it "foxel".

Fits right in with the mainstaysls!

Lem said...

The problem is that Scalia does not hear music in the street ;)

Eli Blake said...

Ironic indeed.

The Jacobins were arguably the most bloody political/ideologically motivated group to appear before the twentieth century.

Surely Scalia, who is an intelligent man and I'm sure studied history, knows that.

He might as well say 'contractions are nazi,' or 'contractions are communist' but that would be too obvious and fresh. No one is around anymore who has a personal memory of just who the 'Jacobins' were or who will be insulted by this trivialization of the blood that they spilt in their pursuit of an egalitarian 'utopia,' so he can make such a ridiculous statement and get away with it.

weffiewonj said...

"And don't look at the clock when the Justice asks a question."
Why not, fusspot? Counsel may want to know how long she has to respond to the query. Try to keep eye contact, but, Medusa notwithstanding, a glance never killed anyone.
On the other hand, Scalia's right to assault an advocate who essentially insults the judge's intelligence when she says the hypothetical is "not this case."
BTW [don't use in briefs, or ur career is c ya!], whoever patented the phrase "I don't deal in hypotheticals" should be quarantined, hypothetically speaking. Our human brains are hypo machines, and we should be proud of it.

Zeb Quinn said...

And if that question poses a hypothetical, don't you dare say that's "not this case." He knows it's not this case, you idiot.

Yeah, perhaps, but would Sotomayor?

Ann Althouse said...

"Fitzwm"... lol.

"t.i.t.s. and f.ex." ... lol.

Chris said...

I hate Scalia for no other reason than when we got two cats, my ex-girlfriend named hers Nino. I named my far superior cat Oscar.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

"When a judge sees that you are playing fast and loose with a citation, he is not going to believe the rest of your brief." -- Wow! Who knew?

Still, having taken a class with Garner a million years ago, I'll take Scalia's tips over his, any time.

Ralph L said...

My sister's former roommate was one of Scalia's last students. She liked him at the time but has since turned hard left. She also thought Russell Crowe was speaking to her telepathically, so she went to several of his band concerts in Europe.

reader_iam said...

Jacobin.

***

Also, may I just say that I found immensely amusing the following sentence:"Is any judge going to get mad because you don't use contractions?"

[Due to its construction 'n' all, doncha know.]

reader_iam said...

[X]

bearbee said...

The problem is that Scalia does not hear music in the street ;).

Empathy impairment.

Pogo said...

Given that Roe v. Wade bore no progeny, it also lacked contractions.

Aaron said...

btw, garner had at his site alot of videos of the Supreme Court justices discussing different issues of how to behave before the supreme court. for my money, Roberts was the most helpful.

I say if you are arguing a case and you know scalia is a lost cause, not only should you use contractions but double negatives. you might as well have fun!

hdhouse said...

any idea when Scalia plans on retiring?

Roger J. said...

When the contractions come 3 minutes apart, aren't you supposed to get the hospital?

mccullough said...

Garner backs up his advice to use contractions by citing researching showing it improves readability, etc.

Scalia appeals to his own sense of taste.

Garner's right. Use contractions.