Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bad Words! Bad! Bad!

What word did Justice Harlan write in the 1971 U.S. Supreme Court opinion Cohen v. State of California, but none of the justices who wrote the majority, concurring, or dissenting opinions in last week's FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. spell out?

Here's a hint: It's a word that is used, described, and testified about in courthouses of every level across the U.S. Spelled out in full. Not spelled with asterisks or by its first letter, a hyphen, and the word "word." Both of which euphemistic abbreviations are used in Justice Scalia's majority opinion in the FCC case.

Here's another hint: It starts with an F, and rhymes with a large vehicle used to haul freight. (And no, I don't mean "flocomotive." Although that might make a good interjection.)

If a word is the subject matter of a court case, is it too much to ask that the court actually describe the word?

No comments: