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U.S. Supreme Court

Scalia asks telecom trade group: Why the name change to ‘unpronounceable’ acronym?

Posted May 21, 2013 1:00 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Orphan acronyms, particularly unpronounceable ones, may be the future, but they don’t appear to sit well with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Blog of the Legal Times reports.

In a case published Monday, a footnote of the majority opinion authored by Scalia notes that there is now no full name for the CTIA—The Wireless Association, which was formerly known as the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. The case deals with Federal Communication Commission statutory authority and cell phone towers.

“This is not a typographical error. CTIA—The Wireless Association was the name of the petitioner. CTIA is presumably an (unpronounceable) acronym, but even the organization’s website does not say what it stands for,” Scalia wrote in City of Arlington, Texas v. FCC (PDF). “That secret, known only to wireless-service-provider insiders, we will not disclose here.”

The justice may have missed a 2009 blog post the organization published. It notes that the name change came about in 2004, and was spurred by a belief that it better represented membership.

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