12 January 2010

"Orthogonal" at the Supreme Court

Orin Kerr at the Volokh Conspiracy points to arguments in a U. S. Supreme Court case yesterday which used the word "orthogonal" in the technical-jargon sense defined, say, at the Jargon File. (See page 24 of the original transcript.) There's a follow-up here by Eugene Volokh, basically saying that there's no point in using big words if your audience doesn't understand them. (And the justices did stop to ask what the word meant.)

12 comments:

Anonymous Rex said...

That's nice. I'm actually surprised it hasn't been used in a Supreme Court decision before. I guess they would say "irrelevant" where we would say "orthogonal"?

Oddly, the Jargon file includes "span the entire 'capability space' of the system" as part of the definition of "orthogonal".

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