Last week brought us an example of close reading from the United States Supreme Court. In King v. Burwell, the Affordable Care Act case, the justices explicated one key phrase: "an Exchange established by the State."
Close reading matters at all levels of court, however, as demonstrated a recent Ohio Court of Appeals opinion. The Dispatch reports on this municipal ordinance case. The ordinance at issue forbids daylong parking for“any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle."
Andrea Cammelleri was cited for parking her pickup truck. While the truck may be a "motor vehicle," it is not a "motor vehicle camper." The Court refused to read in a comma between "motor vehicle" and "camper," as the trial court had. In short: "By utilizing rules of grammar and employing the common meaning of terms, 'motor vehicle camper' has a clear definition that does not produce an absurd result."
All the more reason to brush up on your grammar, punctuation, and close reading skills!