April 19, 2007
Washington State Opinion
The lone dissent in Anderson v. State of Wa. Dep't of Corrections, 154 P.3d 220 (Wa. 2007) begins: "This case presents a simple issue of statutory construction where the majority erroneously ignores and renders meaningless the specific, express controlling statutory provisions. The majority instead construes and rewrites the statutes to find a general power not found in the detailed statutory scheme."
The issue was pretty narrow, but it struck me as interesting how great a disparity between (seemingly) reasonable people can arise over the "plain" meaning of words. We all know that point, but the emphasis with which the dissent gave it struck a chord, reminding me that what is plain to one of us may be plain, but mean precisely the opposite, to someone else. Wittgenstein was right! :-)
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