Even though I should be hard at work on the two amicus briefs that my organization is currently working on, I’ve still found time recently to roam about the internet following bizarre Supreme Court memes. The most interesting thing that I’ve found recently is an article on the perennial debate over the correct pronunciation of the word “certiorari.” In 2001, Washington Post writer Charles Lane published an interesting documentation of the different Justice’s take on the pronunciation of the word and what might really be the correct answer. I couldn’t find the complete article on the Wash. Post website, but I did find it here.

There is clearly some confusion at the Court:

Justice Stephen G. Breyer says “ser-shah-rair-eye,” the last two syllables rhyming with “fair guy.” Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy, however, each pronounce the next-to-last syllable with a broad “a” sound (their version rhymes with “far cry”). Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor go with “ser-shah-rair-ee” (rhymes with “Tipperary”). Justice Clarence Thomas has been heard to pronounce the last two syllables “rahr-ree.”

Hint: the ancient Romans would have pronounced it with a hard ‘c’, kair-tee-oh-rahr-eye.


1 Response to “Supreme Court Throwback: How do you pronounce “certiorari”?”

  1. 1 Rosemary Rummler

    Actually, the ancient Romans would have pronounced it “kair-tee-oh-rahr-ee.” The same vowel’s in the second and the last syllable.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Random Posts

  • Advocate Scorecard for OT00-Present: This weekend, I went through all the oral argument transcripts from OT00 through OTO8 and I counted how many times each of the major advocat...
  • Agreement Between Justices Scalia and Thomas During October Term 2012: Over at Twitter, Mike Sacks posted an interesting question about the agreement rate between Justices Scalia and Thomas during October Term 2...
  • Predicting the April Sitting: I run into the exact same debate every year around mid-January: which cases will be heard during the current term and which will be pushed o...
  • Updates: I've updated a lot of the information on the Term Case Index in preparation for today's cases. I expect the Supreme Court to hand down 1-2 o...
  • Justice Thomas' History at Oral Argument: The big news in the world of the Supreme Court today is that Justice Thomas finally spoke at oral argument. It is not clear exactly what he ...