Orthogonal: or “SCOTUS learns a new word.”

Orthogonal.  As in:  Professor Richard Friedman’s direction became orthogonal during his oral arguments before the Supreme Court last week. The newest word to enter the Supreme Court lexicon made its appearance when the before mentioned professor stated:

“I think that issue is entirely orthogonal to the issue here.”

If you think a sesquipedalian is going to drop a ten-dollar word  like that and just slip by the Justices, then you, like Friedman, have another think coming.  Chief Justice Roberts was the first to stop him.

“I’m sorry. Entirely what?” asked Roberts.

“Orthogonal,” Friedman replied. “Right angle. Unrelated. Irrelevant.”

As if that was enough, Justice Scalia wanted to add it to his repertoire, as well.  As the ABA Journal reported:

“What was that adjective? I liked that,” [Scalia] said.

“I think we should use that in the opinion,” Scalia later added. “Or the dissent,” said Roberts.


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