Annals of unintended judicial irony

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From Grice v. City of St. Robert (Mo. Ct. Ap. 1992) (citations omitted):

This court should not create an exception where none is present. Where a statute has no exception courts should not engraft one by judicial legislation. Words used in the statute must be accorded their plain and ordinary meaning. When language is plain and admits to but one meaning, there is no room for construction.

On Paul Grice:

A quick summary at/by The Information Philosopher

Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


  1. quodlibet said,

    April 2, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

    Irony? Like rain on your wedding day?

  2. TIC said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 7:16 am

    Or, per'aps, irony in the relevance of P's dicta to E's case…

  3. quodlibet said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 8:34 am

    @TIC "The relevance of P's dicta to E's case" is an amusing coincidence, but my grouse is that it is not ironic. (If I had more than one grouse, would they be grice?)

  4. TIC said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 9:00 am

    Looks as if a prescriptivists vs. descriptivists debate on "irony" is in the offing…
    Gonna go heat a bag o' popcorn and settle in!…

  5. quodlibet said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 10:52 am

    I literally don't want to make a federal case out of it, but it sure would be nice if the word meant *something*.

  6. David L said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 11:50 am

    A brace of grice, your grace, as the groundskeeper said to the bishop.

  7. DWalker07 said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 12:10 pm

    Am I missing something? What's the irony? I don't know the word "engraft", but maybe that's just me. I do agree with what the court said, and yet courts seem to do this frequently. Is that the irony?

  8. Rick said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

    I thought the issue was that this use of the word "construction" is not its "plain and ordinary" meaning.

  9. Lawrence said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 1:27 pm

    @DWalker07 – Paul Grice (if you follow the links) introduced the principles of implicature by which the judge is reasoning. Earl Grice, the Claimant-Employee-Appellant in this case, has the same last name. Whether this coincidence is "ironic" or merely amusing is, apparently, a matter of some debate.

  10. Ralph Hickok said,

    April 3, 2018 @ 1:51 pm

    It would be ironic if Paul Grice were the claimant. I don't think the claimant's merely having the same last name makes it ironic.

  11. Vulcan With a Mullet said,

    April 4, 2018 @ 1:57 pm

    This is literally, without hyperbole, the very worst construction to ever happen to the language in the history of mankind, if not the universe. ironic, isn't it?

  12. Andrew (not the same one) said,

    April 6, 2018 @ 5:19 pm

    quodlibet: Well, it does mean something. It means 'amusingly coincidental'.

    Actually, though, I'd agree that something is amiss here. It's not just that this is not the classic meaning of the word. words acquire new meanings all the time. It's that it differs from the classic meaning of the word, but does not differ enough for it to be clear what meaning people have in mind, so we are subject to constant confusion.

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