WSJ Law Blog Item About My “Bamboozled by a Comma” Article

It didn’t take long for my “Bamboozled by a Comma” article (see this post) to attract some attention. Go here to see what the WSJ Law Blog had to say about it. (And the ABA Journal joined in with this item.)

While I’m at it, I’ll make a point that I intentionally didn’t make in the article or the related blog post, as noted by A. Wright Burke at the bottom of this comment. Yes, from the perspective of the contract drafter, the question of how a court construes confusing language is far less relevant than avoiding confusion in the first place. The confusing statute language discussed in my article resembles the mess that happens in contracts when drafters aren’t paying attention.

So be careful out there.

  • Vance_Koven

    My only quibble is that the WSJ blog said the discussion about the comma was crucial to the holding in the case, whereas by my reading it was entirely obiter. Judge Leval had already determined that the construction he favored was the only one consistent with the purpose of the statute. In propounding the rule of construction, he attempted to administer a coup de grace, but ended up shooting himself in the foot.

    • Ken Adams

      That wasn’t something I discussed with the writer. I’ll make sure that my article puts the comma stuff in context. But it’s irrelevant to my point, which is that the principle of construction doesn’t make sense in any context.

    • AWrightBurkeMPhil

      A man’s reach must exceed his grasp, or what’s a metaphor too far among friends?

      • AlberTos

        Seems like everything makes no sense when looked at by a court, at least when I hear about it. Nothing is worse than contracting law documents!