US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as resident linguist and etymologist. 
Posted: 18 June 2014 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  1631
Joined  2007-03-21

Nice article on the semantic games of our Supreme Court:

Antonin Scalia likes dictionaries. He has cited, in Supreme Court opinions, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1773), Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language (1828), Timothy Cunningham’s A New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771), and others of more recent vintage, including the Random House College Dictionary (1982). More than any other sitting Justice, he sees himself as both an authority on and an arbiter of our mother tongue. This makes him, in some instances, the last word on words.

Posted: 18 June 2014 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  4055
Joined  2007-02-26

Sometimes, this has yielded a comical result, as in Scalia’s dissent in Edwards v. Aguillard, a 1987 decision overturning a pretty plainly labelled Louisiana law called the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act on the grounds that it advanced a particular religious belief. Scalia, having considered very carefully the phrase in question, insisted, presumably with a straight face, that the term “creation science” had no religious meaning whatsoever. “The Act’s reference to ‘creation,’” he wrote, “is not convincing evidence of religious purpose…. We have no basis on the record to conclude that creation science need be anything other than a collection of scientific data supporting the theory that life abruptly appeared on earth.”

Sometimes there is not much to say but LOL. At least he doesn’t get much going his way these days. The steam from his ears after US vs Windsor could have powered the world for a year.