Patterico's Pontifications

10/20/2005

Proofreading Miers’s Questionnaire Answers: Questions 15 and 16 (Or: A Clear Case of Misprepresentation)

Filed under: Grammar,Humor,Judiciary — Patterico @ 11:19 pm

I am finally getting a chance to browse through Harriet Miers’s questionnaire answers. Here’s what jumped out at me from her answers to Questions 15 (“Legal Career”) and 16 (“Litigation”). You may have seen these in other places; then again, you may not have. In any event, these are all things I noticed on my own.

Page 31:

He contended that, although the two forged the checks in question were separately cashed at different banks in San Antonio, the interstate transportation of the checks did not occur until the San Antonio Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank forwarded them in the same envelope across state lines to the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank.

. . . .

The United States acknowledged the circuit split (and, in fact, noting that the Seventh Circuit had joined the Fifth and Eighth Circuits, see United States v. Dilts, 501 F.2d 531 (7th Cir. 1974)), but argued, among other things, that “[i]t is not certain that, in view of the decisions in three other circuits to the contrary, the Ninth Circuit now would adhere to its ruling in Gilinsky.” Id. at 3 n.2.

Page 39:

Among other issues that were raised in the course of discovery were activities and conduct that allegedly constituted Pioneer Nuclear’s involvement in the purported unlawful antitrust conspiracy; activities and conduct of domestic codefendants and trade organizations; activities and conduct of foreign defendants in alleged international cartel; as well as an analysis of free market factors explaining an increase in the price of uranium and the definition of the relevant market.

. . . .

I engaged in settlement negotiations on behalf of Pioneer and settled on the basis that all claims against Pioneer Nuclear were dismissed without it paying any money or providing any other consideration to Westinghouse.

Page 41:

The trial court awarded SunGard $46,247 in damages and interest on its breach of contact counter-claim, and awarded it $1,550,000 in attorney’s fees.

Page 42:

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision on most claims, except that the district court reversed the directed verdict on the plaintiffs’ claims for violations of the TDCA.

Huh?

Page 44:

Separately, private plaintiffs sought to bring a class action against Lomas and recover punitive damages, alleging a myriad of claims, involving RICO, fraud, misprepresentation, negligence, intentional wrongdoing, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Lomas

There are plenty more errors, but I’m trying not to get too picky. For example, she needs to decide whether it’s “attorneys’ fees” or “attorney’s fees” — but I didn’t mention that, did I?

Maybe I should apply to be Harriet Miers’s clerk! Ya think she’ll have me?

P.S. I gotta say, though — my main impression after reading about all the cases she has litigated is: thank God I’m not a civil lawyer any more! The issues in these cases are bo-ring!

P.P.S. The rule is: in any post about proofreading or grammar, there must be at least one typo. Your job is to be the first to find it!

But always remember and never forget my certain reply: this blog post is not my application to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

P.P.P.S. The President has breached his contact with the American people.

P.P.P.P.S. I am filing this post under “Humor” in response to See Dubya’s comment below, since he apparently doesn’t get jokes or lighthearted posts unless you tell him they’re jokes or lighthearted posts. (And he’s the same guy who once criticized me for giving a joke away by filing it under “Humor”! Jeez, sometimes you just can’t please these people . . .)

P.P.P.P.P.S. Don’t make me do another P.S.!

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. The “breach of contact” comment was a reference to one of Miers’s mistakes above. Maybe I should have put quotation marks around the word “contact” for the humor-impaired . . .

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Ms. Miers: a spellchecker can be your best friend. My browser and blog software lack one; what’s your excuse?

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Remember: we have all heard about Harriet Miers’s legendary attention to detail, and devotion to perfection in matters of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If this post has a serious point, it’s that those stories seem highly dubious once you actually read some of her writing.

24 Responses to “Proofreading Miers’s Questionnaire Answers: Questions 15 and 16 (Or: A Clear Case of Misprepresentation)”

  1. Oh, come on, now.

    The point you’ve made about Miers’ abysmal writing style is an excellent one–if someone can’t write clearly, they probably don’t think clearly. That’s a real contribution to the debate. And it’s hard to argue with.

    Now you’re checking through her replies for typos and grammar problems? Well, that might work if you’d posted this under the “humor” heading.

    But then jumping directly from grammar issues into “P.P.P.S. The President has breached his contact with the American people”? Dude, that really does belong under the “humor” heading.

    See Dubya (90e77e)

  2. This, from the same guy who once told me that I ruined a joke by filing it in the humor category.

    Fine. I’ll file it under “humor.” Happy now?

    (You did notice that the “breach of contact” phrase was a reference to her use of that phrase in her questionnaire answers, right?)

    Now you’re going to play mind games by pretending your comment was a joke too, aren’t you?

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  3. What’s wrong with “breach of contact” on page 41?

    Also, where’s the error in “the district court reversed the directed verdict” on page 42?

    And one attorney charges attorney’s fees, but two or more charge attorneys’ fees.

    George Turner (36dcbe)

  4. Comment? What comment? Are you talking to me?

    No, I didn’t catch the “breach of contact” callback first time through, since I don’t go nitpicking through people’s blog posts and questionnaire responses for spelling errors!

    Now that I get it, it’s pretty funny, and I apologize for thinking you’d just hurled yourself off the deep end (though I still think the proofreading is like splashing around in the kiddie pool).

    See Dubya (90e77e)

  5. Oh, didn’t even notice she’ll spelled it “contact”.

    A directed verdict, however, is a legal term.

    George Turner (36dcbe)

  6. What’s wrong with “breach of contact” on page 41?

    It was a breach of contract claim.

    Also, where’s the error in “the district court reversed the directed verdict” on page 42?

    Read it in context and tell me.

    And one attorney charges attorney’s fees, but two or more charge attorneys’ fees.

    Yup. ‘Cept, there were two attorneys on the case where she said “attorney’s fees” were awarded.

    Maybe only one of them was paid?

    Anyway, I didn’t mention that mistake, remember?

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  7. A directed verdict, however, is a legal term.

    Thanks for filling me in.

    Now, go back and read it in context, and explain to me just what the hell happened with the directed verdict. If it makes sense to you, then by all means clue us in.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  8. Hah! George fell for “contact” too!

    As for page 42, it’s the fifth cicuit doing the reversing on the district court’s decision, but the way it’s written it looks like the district court is reversing its own verdict.

    See Dubya (90e77e)

  9. . . .though I still think the proofreading is like splashing around in the kiddie pool . . .

    Maybe if we hadn’t been told about her legendary attention to detail, and obsessiveness over punctuation and grammar. The more you read her stuff, the goofier and less plausible such claims become.

    Plus, sometimes splashing around in the kiddie pool is fun.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  10. As for page 42, it’s the fifth cicuit doing the reversing on the district court’s decision, but the way it’s written it looks like the district court is reversing its own verdict.

    See-Dub gets it!

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  11. Thanks for not noticing my typo on “circuit”.

    See Dubya (90e77e)

  12. Here’s the See-Dub comment criticizing me for filing something under Humor:

    It kinda ruins it when it says “FILED UNDER: HUMOR” at the top. Might as well say “Get those laugh muscles ready, guys, cause here comes tha funny!”

    Note: I know that the Harriet Miers blog is not real. Same goes for the phony George Bush comment.

    Yes, I am being brutal and relentless. That’s just the kind of bastard I am at heart.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  13. Ah, I see your point. You do realize, however, that law school dropouts have served on the Supreme Court, only half of supreme court justices have ever held a law degree, an only about 20% of justices have had a 3-year law degree.

    Those were the glory days of strict constructionists.

    Nowdays you need a three-year law degree, a stint as a law professor, head of a bar association, twenty years on the bench, a Pulitzer prize in journalism, and a Nobel prize in both literature and physics.

    George Turner (36dcbe)

  14. This is great. Daniel Drezner pointed out that this was from someone who, if NOTHING else, was supposed to be meticulous. Makes you wonder what else in the Miers marketing campaign isn’t exactly correct.

    A Senior Administration Official (5c600b)

  15. Thanks for not noticing my typo on “circuit”.

    Sure thing. And you and George Turner don’t have to thank me for not noticing your habit of placing periods outside quotation marks. Really: don’t mention it!

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  16. Hey, don’t mention the period placements and I won’t jump on your use of an imported colon during a period when gas prices are at record levels. You could’ve split the colon into two periods, doubling the utility of expensive punctuation, and helped our trade deficit, ya know.

    George Turner (36dcbe)

  17. I’ll have you know that my colon is 100% domestic, as is everything that passes through it.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  18. Oh, no, thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart.

    I was taught that the period still goes outside the quote marks if it’s a one or two word quote, as opposed to a longer phrase, you “motherthanker“. So my Supreme Court prospects remain undimmed.

    See Dubya (90e77e)

  19. Oh, no, thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart.

    Heh. I love that gag.

    Patterico (4e4b70)

  20. Egads! This blog is entirely fueled by domestic beer? Not even the occassional hefeweizen, Guinness, or Pilsner Urquel?

    Regardless, the colon remains a suspicious Italian device, with deep links to organized crime.

    DON CICCIO (in Sicilian) colon Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!
    —-
    SONNY colon You touch — my sister again, I’ll kill ya.
    —-
    MICHAEL colon Who had Frank Pentangeli killed?
    ROTH colon The — Rosato brothers.

    I’m wary anytime I see a colon. It’s like a hand reaching for a gun.

    But back to the main point.

    I’d be delighted to have a justice that I can relate to, one who’d give us something like.

    Writing the dissent was junior associate Justice Harriet Miers.Well, his case don’t make no dang sense, so I ain’t going along with the majority.

    George Turner (36dcbe)

  21. Stop misunderestimating the value of Miers’s mispreparations.

    Shredstar (532850)

  22. I wonder if she dictated this or typed it herself.

    A spellchecker wouldn’t have caught breach of contact. I wonder how well the sitting justices would write if they didn’t have a staff of secretaries, and clerks who did better in Law School than they did to research and ghostwrite their opinions.

    I guess it wouldn’t do for the only group in government not answerable to anybody to make mistakes in spelling and grammar. I guess folks in Texas are just too dumb to play in D.C.

    AST (c56887)

  23. It wouldn’t have caught any of the others, either, with the except “misprepresentation.”

    And yes, I did write “except misprepresentation” on the first draft, then went back to rephrase it as “with the exception of…” only to accidentally on purpose leave the edit half-done. I suspect that’s how many of the other typos came about. I do it all the time, then again, I’m not a candidate for the Supreme Court, yadda yadda yadda.

    Xrlq (a9eb8b)


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