Monday, July 14, 2014

Certiorari: How Do You Pronounce It?

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen G. Breyer: “ser-shee-or-RARE-eye,” rhyming with “fair guy.”

• Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and John Paul Stevens: “ser-shee-or-RAHR-ee,” rhyming with “Ferrari” or “car key.”

• Justice Clarence Thomas: He agrees with Alito on the last three syllables, but he pronounces the first two syllables “sertzee.”

• Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: “ser-shee-or-ARR-eye,” rhyming with “far cry” or “czar guy.”

• Justice Sonia Sotomayor: “ser-shee-ARR-ee,” with a dropped syllable.

• The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and David H. Souter: “ser-shee-or-RARE-ee,” rhyming with “dairy.”

Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsburg avoid the controversy; they opt for the shorter “cert” or even “review.”

You can read Professor Duane James’ empirical study at the Green Bag and a posting on the ABA Journal blog. Given my many years of high school Latin, I side with Justices Alito and Stevens.


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My friend with a Ph.D. in Classics says: "I think Alito and Stephens are the closest, but one has to combine part of Thomas, so that you get "tz". Also I would correct Thomas and go ecclesiastical and say "chairtzee" followed by the way he Alito and Stevens finish it."

Posted by: Alphonsus Jr. | Jul 15, 2014 8:25:47 PM

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