Sturm College of Law
Legal writing, Plain meaning
When President Clinton parsed words in his testimony, the response was contempt and disdain. The impeachment trial hinged on the assumption that Clinton's intent in interpreting common words with a narrow or special meaning was deceitful. We lawyers cannot speak to Clinton's intent, and we wince at the bad publicity he is giving to the profession. However, most of us would have to admit that Clinton's use of common words with special meanings is not only acceptable, but commonplace in the law
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K.K. DuVivier, Common Words with Uncommon Meanings, 28 Colo. Law. 47 (Mar. 1999).