James J. Kilpatrick

Posted November 29, 2006

In its petition to the Supreme Court, Laws' counsel argues that if Judge Bybee's opinion is affirmed, the likeness of any prominent person could be used without his consent on any licensed work that is subject to copyright.

Posted November 28, 2006

First, a caveat: There is no rule -- absolutely NO rule -- against using nouns as adjectives! The supposed rule is an old grammarian's crotchet, to be prudently ignored.

Posted November 22, 2006

First the good news: The Supreme Court will hear argument early next year in the sad case of a 19-year-old who tried to outrun some Georgia cops and wound up a paraplegic.

Posted November 21, 2006

Robert Browning said it first, but the architect Mies van der Rohe made it famous: "Less is more." It's a fine rule for writers -- let us use only necessary words -- but "less is more" is not a rule to be followed blindly.

Posted November 08, 2006

Some long-forgotten jurist long ago laid down a maxim for the ages: "De minimis non curat lex." Loosely translated: Appellate courts should not bother with trifles.

Posted November 06, 2006

The field includes a minister's brief homily, an author's introduction, a student's book report and, more particularly, an editor's editorials.

Posted October 30, 2006

How did "quality" get to be an adjective? In 1936 or thereabouts, the gurus of Merriam-Webster counted their citations and declared that a rite of passage had occurred.

Posted October 26, 2006

Verily, verily, remarked the Preacher, of the bringing of First Amendment cases there shall be no end. The venerable Ecclesiastes thus provided a text for an important case now pending in the Supreme Court on a petition for review.

Posted October 19, 2006

Seventeen years have passed since Jeffrey Landrigan murdered Chester Dean Dyer, but the story won't go away. Now the record is resting in the U.S. Supreme Court on Arizona's appeal from a regrettable decision in the 9th Circuit.

Posted October 12, 2006

My sympathies are with the irresponsible driver, crippled by his own lawless behavior, but my heart goes out to the cop. A policeman's lot is not a happy one.

Posted October 05, 2006

Viewed in one way, the two union labor cases now awaiting argument in the Supreme Court are much ado about mighty little.

Posted September 28, 2006

The questionnaires are of interest. Most of the 79 questions dealt with violence; 10 dealt with sex.

Posted September 21, 2006

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, Morton R. Berger will spend the rest of his life in an Arizona prison. Maybe he deserves it. Then again, maybe not.

Posted September 14, 2006

Four years ago, in a different place far away, another smart-aleck also stood upon his First Amendment rights. He had better luck, and now he's in the U.S. Supreme Court, ready to defend his glorious victory against a formidable foe.

Posted September 08, 2006

On the Fourth of July in 2002, John Gilmore set out to fly from the West Coast to Washington, D.C. As things turned out, he never made the trip, mainly because the airline security folks wouldn't let him board a plane. He hasn't flown commercially from that day to this.

Posted August 31, 2006

eorge W. Bush took the presidential oath on that January day in 2001, came home from the Hill, and promptly issued Executive Order No. 13,199. Thus he created, overnight, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

Posted August 24, 2006

The city of New York wants to protect its vagrant citizens in its way -- preferably far away.

Posted August 16, 2006

The facts in the case of Weldon Angelos are not in dispute: He really did sell 24 ounces of marijuana to an informant, and he really did carry a handgun when he did it.

Posted August 07, 2006

Ah, the subjunctive mood! Editors have been writing its obituary for the past 400 years.

Posted August 03, 2006

In the final paragraphs of his 39-page opinion, Souter abruptly lapses into lucidity.