Saturday, October 08, 2011

ah...the semicolon

Here's a blurb concerning a judicial interpretation of the Dodd Frank Act based upon the use of a semicolon:

Judge Altonaga ruled that the plain language of Section 1400(c), in particular, the semicolon in the title, indicates that “Effective Date” is not used as a subcategory of “Regulations.” Rather, the semicolon “suspends the thought regarding regulations and begins a new thought involving effective dates.” As such, section 1400(c) addresses both the regulations that are required to be implemented as well as the effective dates for all sections—not only the effective dates of those sections that call for regulations. Based on this interpretation, Judge Altonaga dismissed the Plaintiffs’ RESPA claims because the amendments were not in effect prior to Wells Fargo’s issuance of the force-placed insurance policies. Read more on cfsbulletin.

I love it.  Presumably lawmakers carefully chose the way in which the language of the law was crafted.  If so, the careful interpretation by the court enforces the intention of the law.  If not, then shame on the sloppy lawmakers for not using the language properly.  WORDS HAVE MEANING as does the punctuation which creates the structure by which we capture the nuanced intention of the author.  Like vitamins and exercise which keep our bodies fit, using the language carefully keeps our brains fit and in this case, protects the pocketbook.  ;)

1 comment:

Minerva said...

And there we have it, the words and the punctuations! These should be constructed well especially for legal documents because one dot or comma may cause us a bigger problem! :)