Friday, June 8, 2012

judge dislikes alphabet soup

Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, writing for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, had this to say in a footnote about court filings full of acronyms:

ImagesWe also remind the parties that our Handbook of Practice and
Internal Procedures states that “parties are strongly urged to limit the
use of acronyms” and “should avoid using acronyms that are not
widely known.” Brief-writing, no less than “written English, is full of
bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one
is willing to take the necessary trouble.” George Orwell, “Politics and
the English Language,” 13 Horizon 76 (1946). Here, both parties
abandoned any attempt to write in plain English, instead abbreviating
every conceivable agency and statute involved, familiar or not, and
littering their briefs with references to “SNF,” “HLW,” “NWF,”
“NWPA,” and “BRC” – shorthand for “spent nuclear fuel,” “highlevel
radioactive waste,” the “Nuclear Waste Fund,” the “Nuclear
Waste Policy Act,” and the “Blue Ribbon Commission.”

You can read the full decision here

hat tip: Dean Cindy Fountaine


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