« Why I like Leap Year | Main | Dean Done »

Why Proofreading is Important

James Warren, a San Francisco Superior Court judge, refused to issue an injuction yesterday seeking to halt the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A USC law professor sees this as a victory:

USC law professor Erwin Chemerinsky said Tuesday's court rulings bode well for the city. "In one sense," the fact that two judges declined to issue an injunction Tuesday "is a victory for San Francisco," said Chemerinsky. The judges' refusal to immediately grant an injunction "shows that what San Francisco is doing is not patently invalid."

Actually, according to this report, it shows that the attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund, the Arizona-based group opposing the city's actions, didn't proofread their motion for injunctive relief:

Superior Court Judge James Warren told plaintiffs late this afternoon that they would likely succeed on the merits of their case but said he would not issue a court order until they corrected a punctuation error in their legal filing.

"I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal That semicolon is a big deal," Warren told attorneys, according to an account by Associated Press.

In documents filed with the court, the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund had requested a court order that would force the city "cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before this court."

"The way you've written this it has a semicolon where it should have the word 'or'," the judge said. "I don't have the authority to issue it under these circumstances."

I'm a lawyer, and at my first job I had a boss who would make a huge deal out of every misplaced comma and split infinitive in drafts he reviewed. He would even go so far as to write "H.S. [High School] English" in the margin. I always felt this level of pedantry was uncalled-for, and I hate that this story vindicates his behavior in some small measure.

--Brought to you by the endorphin-addled brain of Robb Kestner of Running at the Mouth.

Comments (4)

Yeah, a judge has no busine... (Below threshold)
Jalal Abu Jarhead:

Yeah, a judge has no business doing the right thing, despite the fact that plaintiffs did a poor job of writing and proofreading. Next thing you know, they'll be asking him to do something really crazy, like interpret a law or something!

I may not have been clear: ... (Below threshold)

I may not have been clear: I think the judge did the right thing, but my old boss sucked.

My comment wasn't directed ... (Below threshold)
Jalal Abu Jarhead:

My comment wasn't directed at you, Robb, but at the judge. Your last sentence made it pretty clear to me that you didn't like the judge's action.

If it had been a suit to stop a "conservative" action rather than a "liberal" one, do we have any doubt that a California judge would certainly overlook a misplaced semicolon?

Oops, I've got to read more... (Below threshold)
Jalal Abu Jarhead:

Oops, I've got to read more carefully.

Okay, then. We disagree, Robb.

/me slinks off to scrubb his eyes






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy