Home In-Depth Reporting Every lawyer a lexicographer: Defining words… Bryan Garner on Words By Bryan A. Garner June 2018 Bryan Garner: "Lawyers are constantly creating definitions, seemingly to a greater extent as time goes by." Photograph by Winn Fuqua Photography. I’m a lexicographer by trade: a writer of dictionaries—or, as Samuel Johnson added to his 1755 definition, “a harmless drudge.” But then so are you if you prepare legal instruments. Lawyers are constantly creating definitions, seemingly to a greater extent as time goes by. These definitions appear mostly in transactional practice (contracts, wills, etc.) but also in legislative and regulatory work (statutes and rules)—and even in briefs. Over the past quarter century, I’ve hired lawyer-staffers to help me in my work on Black’s Law Dictionary. The test I formerly used was to ask interviewees to define the word hotel—on the spot, with just a pencil and a legal pad. … [Read more...] about Every lawyer a lexicographer: Defining words with clarity, brevity and practicality
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They had shown the immigration officer their proof — the eight years of Facebook photos, their 5-year-old son’s birth certificate, the letters from relatives and friends affirming their commitment — and now they were so close, Karah de Oliveira thought, so nearly a normal couple. Thirteen years after her husband was ordered deported back to his native Brazil, the official recognition of their marriage would bring him within a few signatures of being able to call himself an American. With legal papers, they could buy a house and get a bank loan. He could board a plane. They could take their son to Disney World. Then the officer reappeared. “I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” he said. “The good news is, I’m going to approve your application. Clearly, your marriage is real. The bad news is, ICE is here, and they want to speak with you.” ICE was Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency charged with arresting and … [Read more...] about A marriage used to prevent deportation. Not anymore.
Two years ago, Kevin Chmielewski was a Donald Trump campaign aide who was working tirelessly to ensure that the New York businessman became America's 45th president. He even convinced Trump to hold a rally at his high school alma mater in Berlin, Maryland, where the candidate called him "a star" and demanded that he stand onstage beside him."I don't know what they produce at this school, but this guy is a gem," Trump declared, with his aide next to him. "He's tough as hell. Whenever there's a problem he runs right in - like full blast, just runs in - and he is a wild man."On Thursday, Chmielewski, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations at the Environmental Protection Agency until last month, became the latest Trump ally to wreak havoc within an administration he helped put in office, publicly alleging EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt engaged in spending excesses and questionable ethics decisions.Five Democrats in the House and Senate detailed his accusations in a six-page … [Read more...] about EPA whistleblower details Scott Pruitt’s spending and travel excesses