The Language of Judges / Edition 1

The Language of Judges / Edition 1

by Lawrence M. Solan
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226767914

ISBN-13: 9780226767918

Pub. Date: 05/28/1993

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

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…  See more details below

Overview

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. Lawrence M. Solan is a partner in the law firm of Orans, Elsen and Lupert in New York City. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has written extensively on language and law, linguistics, and the psychology of language. "The first book to explore the application of modern linguistic theory to law. It fills, or at least begins the process of filling, a significant gap in interdisciplinary legal studies. And it shows that there is a gap--that there is a significant domain of application of linguistic theory to law."--Judge Richard A. Posner, United States Court of Appeals

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226767918
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
05/28/1993
Series:
Chicago Series in Law and Society Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
225
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: Judging Language1
1Chomsky and Cardozo: Linguistics and the Law10
Cardozo's Hope: Keeping the Law Flexible12
Chomsky and the Nature of Linguistic Knowledge15
Chomsky, Cardozo, and Mrs. Palsgraf22
2The Judge as Linguist28
The Last Antecedent Rule29
Mrs. Anderson's Case29
Processing Strategies and the Last Antecedent Rule31
The Across the Board Rule: Mr. Judge34
Drugs and the Last Antecedent Rule36
Last Antecedents and Legal Canons37
Empty Words: The Interpretation of Pronouns38
Mr. Bass40
Pronouns and Taxation41
The And/Or Rule45
Problems of Scope - And Means Or46
Support of Delinquent Children - The Problem with And/Or53
Mr. Caine - Or Means And54
Adjectives and the Linguistics of Capital Punishment55
Why Judges Do Not MaKe Good Linguists59
3Stacking the Deck64
The Rule of Lenity66
Yermian: Lenity and the Scope of Adverbs67
What about Brown?75
RICO - Lenity and the Meaning of Words77
The Linguistics of Insurance Policies81
The Jacober Accident81
Ignoring Language - Partridge85
Understanding Ambiguous Contracts87
4When the Language Is Clear93
How Plain Can Language Be?94
The "Plain Language" of RICO99
When the Language and Its Opposite Are Both Plain99
Understanding Patterns: RICO as an Unclear Statute104
Turkette and Russello Revisited: Some More Fuzzy Concepts106
When Is Plain Language Enough?108
5Too Much Precision118
The Quest for Precision119
Pronouns, Precision, and the Law121
Pronouns and the Fifth Amendment122
Devices to Limit Ambiguity of Reference in Legal Language125
Party of the First Part125
Replacing Pronouns with Names127
Said and Same128
Using Special Words130
The War against Legal Language133
How Much Better Can We Do?137
6Some Problems with Words: Trying to Understand the Constitution139
People, Corporations, and Other Creatures140
What Is a Corporation140
Corporations, the Lexicon, and the Fifth Amendment143
Testimony and the Act of Speech148
The Current State of the Fifth Amendment149
Speech Acts: Linguistics and the Fifth Amendment154
Admissions155
Admitting by Bleeding157
What Is a Search163
The Word "Search"164
The Fourth Amendment and the Lexicon166
Some Easy Cases and Some Hard Ones170
7Why It Hasn't Gotten Any Better172
Anderson and the Status Quo173
Expanding Legal Doctrine178
Getting Tough182
The Language of Judges185
Notes189
Table of Cases211
Index215

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >