Wednesday, May 02, 2012

SCOTUS and that 4-letter word

New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak reported earlier this week on the absence since 1993 of a certain 4-letter word from the Court's opinions. After the Cohen v. California case in 1971, the word apparently appeared in nine subsequent decisions over the next two decades or so, usually quoting a criminal defendant. In discussing the Cohen case, Liptak quotes Moritz professor Chris Fairman, "the nation's leading authority on the legal status of the word." See Fairman's 2007 law review article on the topic, titled . . .

The Oyez Project provides the oral argument audio of the Cohen case. As told in Liptak's article, listen for defendant's counsel Melville Nimmer uttering the word just over the 2:00 mark.