U.S. Supreme Court

Chief Justice Shows Off Knowledge of New Word

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Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has added a new word to his vocabulary.

Roberts stopped Assistant to the Solicitor General Nicole Saharsky during a U.S. Supreme Court oral argument last month when she referred to “romanette (i) and (ii),” reports The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.

“Romanette?” Roberts asked.

“Oh, little roman numeral,” Saharsky replied.

Roberts showed off his newfound knowledge during oral argument on Tuesday as it considered prosecutors’ failure to turn over exculpatory evidence in a death penalty trial, the blog reports. Roberts referred to “romanette i” in an exchange with lawyer Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

News of Roberts’ romanette question prompted debate on the Volokh Conspiracy about whether the word is rare or common in legal circles. It was also inspiration for the name of a legal trivia team at Kirkland & Ellis, according to The BLT.

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