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Disrespectful Cockalorum
October 14, 2007 8:46 PM   Subscribe

Blackburn makes manifest a propensity for turgid language. Not content with foisting “cockalorum” (meaning, boastful talk), “froward” (willfully disobedient) and “mordaciously” (bitingly) on the reader, he may be the first judge to use both “contumelious” (scornful) and “contumacious” (pigheaded) in the same opinion. Judge Robert E. Blackburn's ruling [pdf] granting a motion for a new trial based on attorney misconduct is an interesting read for those who enjoy the use of uncommon, flowery and "big" words.

The site where I found the above story, is full of interesting legal cases, both serious and offbeat, and those that fall somewhere in between, like the case of a man who sued 1-800-FLOWERS, the online florist, for causing him "anguish" by revealing his extramarital affair to his wife.
posted by amyms (14 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ugh, there's at least one superfluous comma in my "more inside." My apologies to the comma pedants.
posted by amyms at 8:51 PM on October 14, 2007


I am pretty sure this guy has been brought up here before. Regardless, he is a giant asshole and does not have the temperament to be on the bench.
posted by Falconetti at 8:52 PM on October 14, 2007


A pedantic martinet with deep-seated issues and barely-concealed hostility toward plaintiffs. A total disaster as a judge.

Huh, wonder which side of the ruling that person came out on?
posted by YoBananaBoy at 9:16 PM on October 14, 2007


yea, language is a virus
posted by growabrain at 9:33 PM on October 14, 2007


6000 holes in blackburn, lancashire...
posted by bruce at 9:40 PM on October 14, 2007


My apologies to the comma pedants.

Don't worry all of their names are on a list of those who'll be first against the wall when the revolution, comes.

Good site, I've sent this to a friend in law school.
posted by Kattullus at 10:49 PM on October 14, 2007


Huh, wonder which side of the ruling that person came out on?

Always a problem with feedback systems. :/

AAA +++ FAIR JUDGE, SWIFT TRILE, WOULD LITIGATE AGAIN!!1!
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:10 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


Contumelious and contumacious are not that uncommon in legal writing. They are technical terms that carry technical meanings. And he's certainly not the first to use both in a single opinion.

Having said that, it doesn't look like Blackburn J was using them in their technical senses. His thesaurus is certainly well-thumbed.
posted by robcorr at 1:07 AM on October 15, 2007


I rather approve: the average Joe is so willfully ignorant these days, they may as well learn something en route to the pen. In fact, I'd offer a six month sentence reduction if they could define any of the words in question.
posted by rhymer at 1:19 AM on October 15, 2007


Those seeking further reading of this nature may enjoy Judge Samuel B Kent's opinion in Bradshaw v Unity ("But at the end of the day, even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, a pig is still a pig.")
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:37 AM on October 15, 2007


My apologies to the comma pedants.

Don't worry all of their names are on a list....


The problem with that list is that you can't tell the last two pedants apart.
posted by rokusan at 2:51 AM on October 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


That was fun to read.

Sometimes I think of doing the law thing, but maybe I'll just stick to reading the occasional opinion and chuckling at the vocabulary.
posted by blacklite at 3:04 AM on October 15, 2007


What they don't tell you is that for every contumelious or contumacious there are a hundred aforementioned clauses and numerous falses.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:55 AM on October 15, 2007


Not enough perspicuity for the perspicacity.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:17 AM on October 15, 2007


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