Language of Judges

ISBN-10: 0226767914
ISBN-13: 9780226767918
Edition: 1993 (Reprint)
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Description: Since many legal disputes are battles over the meaning of a statute, contract, testimony, or the Constitution, judges must interpret language in order to decide why one proposed meaning overrides another. And in making their decisions about meaning  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 1993
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 5/15/1993
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 230
Size: 6.06" wide x 9.02" long x 0.58" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Since many legal disputes are battles over the meaning of a statute, contract, testimony, or the Constitution, judges must interpret language in order to decide why one proposed meaning overrides another. And in making their decisions about meaning appear authoritative and fair, judges often write about the nature of linguistic interpretation. In the first book to examine the linguistic analysis of law, Lawrence M. Solan shows that judges sometimes inaccurately portray the way we use language, creating inconsistencies in their decisions and threatening the fairness of the judicial system. Solan uses a wealth of examples to illustrate the way linguistics enters the process of judicial decision making: a death penalty case that the Supreme Court decided by analyzing the use of adjectives in a jury instruction; criminal cases whose outcomes depend on the Supreme Court's analysis of the relationship between adverbs and prepositional phrases; and cases focused on the meaning of certain words in the Constitution. Solan finds that judges often describe our use of language poorly because there is no clear relationship between the principles of linguistics and the jurisprudential goals that the judge wishes to promote. A major contribution to the growing interdisciplinary scholarship on law and its social and cultural context, Solan's lucid, engaging book is equally accessible to linguists, lawyers, philosophers, anthropologists, literary theorists, and political scientists.

Preface
Introduction
Judging Language
Chomsky and Cardozo
Linguistics and the Law Cardozo's Hope
Keeping the Law Flexible
Chomsky and the Nature of Linguistic Knowledge
Chomsky, Cardozo, and Mrs. Palsgraf
The Judge as Linguist The Last Antecedent Rule Mrs
Anderson's Case Processing Strategies and the Last Antecedent Rule
The Across the Board Rule
Mr. Judge Drugs and the Last Antecedent Rule
Last Antecedents and Legal Canons Empty Words
The Interpretation of Pronouns
Mr. Bass Pronouns and Taxation
The And Or Rule Problems of Scope-And
Means Or Support of Delinquent
Children-The Problem with And Or Mr. Caine-Or
Means And
Adjectives and the Linguistics of Capital Punishment
Why Judges Do Not Make Good Linguists
Stacking the Deck The Rule of Lenity Yermian
Lenity and the Scope of Adverbs What about Brown?
RICO-Lenity and the Meaning of Words
The Linguistics of Insurance Policies The Jacober Accident Ignoring
Language-Partridge Understanding Ambiguous Contracts
When the Language Is Clear How Plain Can Language Be?
The "Plain Language" of RICO When the Language and Its Opposite Are Both Plain
Understanding Patterns: RICO as an Unclear Statute
Turketteand Russello
Revisited: Some More Fuzzy Concepts
When Is Plain Language Enough?
Too Much Precision
The Quest for Precision
Pronouns and the Fifth Amendment
Devices to Limit Ambiguity of Reference in Legal Language
Party of the First Part Replacing Pronouns with Names Said and Same Using Special Words
The War against Legal Language How Much Better Can We Do?
Some Problems with Words
Trying to Understand the Constitution People, Corporations, and Other Creatures
What Is a Corporation Corporations, the Lexicon, and the Fifth Amendment
Testimony and the Act of Speech
The Current State of the Fifth Amendment Speech Acts
Linguistics and the Fifth Amendment Admissions
Admitting by Bleeding What Is a Search The Word "Search"
The Fourth Amendment and the Lexicon
Some Easy Cases and Some Hard Ones
Why It Hasn't Gotten Any Better
Anderson and the Status Quo Expanding Legal Doctrine
Getting Tough The Language of Judges
Notes
Table of Cases
Index

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