article which should be in your Sunday Times on Antonin Scalia's recent oral argument meltdown over a lawyer's use of the word choate (pronounced: Kow-ate, or Kow-it.) If you look at Black's Law Dictionary "choate" means a right that has become perfected or "ripened." An example might be a lien against property which is made perfect by a filing with the county recorder's office. Bad Lawyer's favorite Associate Jusitice, who as you will recall does not believe that "actual innocence" is a constitutionally sufficient reason not to execute a death row inmate--has ruled from the bench that the word choate does not exist. Justice Scalia approves of the word, inchoate which means imperfect, incomplete, or unperfected. Justice Scalia has it fixed in his firmament, that choate is to inchoate like "sult" is to "insult."
I assume if you read Bad Lawyer regulalry you are asking for my spin on why 'Nino's reaction to the lawyer's use of the objectoinable word is remarkable.
Lawyers for the most part are gas bags. Hell, the use of the word, choate or for that matter inchoate is perfectly pretentious. Makes me laugh! In law schools, you'll get law students asking questions by prefacing the question with the word, Query? Query, Professor Windbag? From the lowliest of street hustlers to Justices and Chief Justices of the respective Supreme Courts, we all see ourselves as mighty advocates: Clarence Darrow, Cicero, Abraham Lincoln, reincarnate; or jurists in the mode of Judge Learned Hand, Justice Benjamin Cardoza, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes and so forth. In reality, we are just little men and women who engage in constant self-aggrandizement, puffery, and ego inflation. Scalia and his ilk do this with the linguistic colloquies (formal conversations) from the bench.
Remember, this is the Justice who believes that the original meaning of our founding documents should control how the U.S. Constitution applies to things like your reproductive organs--Scalia is in his own self-enlarged view being consistent because the word choate while actually in usage (by windbag lawyers) is of dubious etymology. An "originalist" like 'Nino ain't gonna let a seriously etymologically questionable usage slide, put an innocent man to death, well, that's a different matter.