U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court's visible edits show misspellings and missteps; is there a 'minuscule' error?

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The U.S. Supreme Court has corrected misspellings, wrong word choices, missing words and grammatical missteps in several Supreme Court opinions this term, according to a website that reveals the corrections.

The National Law Journal took a look at the corrections. They include:

  • The word “palate” in the phrase “painter’s palate” was corrected to “palette” in a concurrence by Justice Clarence Thomas in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
  • The phrase “lassez-faire” in an opinion by Justice Stephen G. Breyer in Ohio v. American Express was corrected to “laissez-faire.”
  • The word “against” was inserted after “protects” in a sentence that described Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. The original sentence in the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision referred to “a law that protects discrimination on the basis of religion as well as sexual orientation.”
  • A problem with subject-verb agreement in a concurrence by Justice Sonia Sotomayor was corrected in Hughes v. United States. The first version of the opinion read, “The integrity and legitimacy of our criminal justice system depends upon consistency.” The word “depend” was substituted for “depends.”

Court watchers like to point out the mistakes. Still unchanged, however, is the word “miniscule” in Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s dissent in Trump v. Hawaii. The word should be “minuscule,” said blogger and author Kenneth Jost in a tweet.

A Twitter user who uses the handle “Law Writing Coach” disagreed, asserting that “miniscule” isn’t the preferred word, but it’s not wrong.

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