Monday, June 11, 2018
Earlier this year I blogged about students (and a well-known national gym franchise) spelling the word judgment with the letter "e" appearing twice--in "judge" and in "ment." In my initial post, I took a cursory look at how the U.S. Supreme Court spells the word, finding that it overwhelmingly prefersthe single "e" version of the word.
The topic intrigued me so much, I decided to dig a little deeper and write a short article on it. I am pleased to announce that the article will be published in the Spring 2018 edition of The Green Bag. You can preview the article here.
The article starts with an Originalist inquiry into the spelling of judgment--looking at how the word was spelled in state constitutions and other important founding documents. I then explore English language and legal dictionaries to see how those sources spelled the word. I end with a much more detailed look at the Supreme Court's treatment of the word, using various legal research databases to identify every instance of "judgement" appearing in the U.S. Reports.
Although I do encourage you to read the article (it is quite short), I am happy to share my conclusion in this post. In legal writing, judgment should be spelled with only one "e." That is the preferred spelling of the early sources, the dictionaries, and the U.S. Supreme Court. For those who want to cling to the double "e" version of the word, I implore you to be consistent in your writing. While seeing judgement in a brief does cause me to cringe, I cringe even more when I see the word spelled two different ways, sometimes in the same paragraph or sentence.