The U.S. Supreme Court Cites MSCD

In this post from last November, I noted that the U.S. Solicitor General had cited A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting in their brief in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court involving a dispute over an and, Pulsifer v. U.S. Well, two days ago the other shoe dropped: in their opinion in that case (here), the U.S. Supreme Court cites MSCD. (The dissent cites it too.)

I enjoyed that the court’s opinion cites both The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language and MSCD. Both works bear the mark of Rodney Huddleston. He’s co-author of CGEL, but in addition it’s thanks to him that MSCD‘s analysis of what I call “ambiguity of the part versus the whole” makes sense. (See this 2020 blog post for more about that.)

I also enjoyed finding out for myself that the court had cited me. I had thought they might, so every few weeks I’d check to see whether they had issued the opinion. When I checked last Friday, I realized that the opinion had been issued three hours previously, so I quickly found it, searched for “Adams”, then double and triple checked. 🙂

Regarding the implications of this opinion, go here for an NBC News item. This dispute serves as a reminder that ands matter!

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

2 thoughts on “The U.S. Supreme Court Cites MSCD”

    • Hi Kyle. Thanks! Your comment prompted me to revise my post by adding a paragraph at the end. But honestly, I think what matters most is what other people think of this sort of thing.

      Century Schoolbook? Nah, I’ll leave that to the real players!


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