Friday, April 10, 2009
The Big "C"
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Because the Bluebook requires it. :(
Posted by: Tomas Gomez | Apr 10, 2009 7:27:46 PM
Yeah, and why do tax folks refer to "the Code" when we all know that you should capitalize the word only when referring to the UCC!
Posted by: Tim Zinnecker | Apr 10, 2009 7:50:44 PM
Take it up with the editors of the Bluebook, which requires it.
Posted by: Alyssa Lathrop | Apr 10, 2009 9:02:59 PM
Tim Zinnecker, do you care to step outside to settle that question? There is one Code and one Code only.
Posted by: Sarah L. | Apr 10, 2009 10:46:15 PM
There is one Code and one Code only.
Yes, the Bankruptcy Code!
Posted by: don anon | Apr 11, 2009 12:40:12 AM
I always thought it was because lawyers secretly yearn to turn English into German, by capitalizing *everything*.
Posted by: Bruce Boyden | Apr 11, 2009 12:15:39 PM
I assure you there's no conspiracy to enshrine the Supreme Court--it's more of a convenient shorthand, since when you're reading articles that refer to all manners of courts throughout, it's a much more convenient cue to shift back to "Court." Otherwise, it can look pretty awkward. It's easier to read it as "The Supreme Court in X said Y. The Third Circuit construed the Court's holding one way, the Ninth Circuit construed it differently, so the Court resolved the split by holding Z." Though to be honest, I'm not sure if the practice predated the Bluebook's capitalization rule (even though the Bluebook certainly helped perpetuate it), but the two main reasons why I find the rule helpful are that it (1) is convenient, and (2) often reduces ambiguity.
Posted by: anon Bluebook editor | Apr 11, 2009 1:19:53 PM
Bluebook Rule 8(b)(ii): "Capitalize ['Court'] when naming any court in full or when referring to the United States Supreme Court . . . ."
I don't make the rules; I just enforce them.
Posted by: Managing Board | Apr 11, 2009 2:34:30 PM
Perhaps the reason we should capitalize "Code" when referring to the UCC, and we shouldn't capitalize "Code" when referring to the Infernal Revenue code or the Bankruptcy code, is that the UCC is drafted by professionals (e.g., practitioners, judges, professors -- experts in the field), and the IRC, the BC, and other codes are crafted by politicians (mere amateurs).
But my sincerely held beliefs are outweighed by desires of self-preservation, so if forced to recant by the threat of fisticuffs or the challenge of a "duel" (by "Sarah L." or others), I can easily be persuaded by contrary arguments (in the words of philosopher Darth Vader, "the dark side").
Posted by: Tim Zinnecker | Apr 11, 2009 3:09:16 PM
OH SNAP. Actually, the Code (by which I mean, of course, the Internal Revenue Code) is also drafted almost entirely, at least at this point, by professionals--specifically, the professionals at the Joint Committee on Taxation. Tax law is sort of the best of both worlds, then--professionals writing the legislation, but politicians representing the peoples' interests (much like Mill's proposal for a legislative commission).
(P.S. - The "L" stands for "Lawsky"--"Sarah L." is merely my truly sneaky nom de blog comments.)
(P.P.S. - This comment is best read while listening to this.)
Posted by: Sarah L. | Apr 11, 2009 8:49:20 PM
While I admit I spend too much time thinking about grammar in briefs and motions that are probably not read, as a practitioner I capitalize "Court" for SCOTUS and the state Supreme Court, plus the court I'm addressing. The latter one for respect, and the former two to emphasize that those decisions are (sort of) binding.
As for the Code, there can be only one.
Posted by: Kathryn | Apr 13, 2009 2:01:51 PM
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