February 20, 2013
Think you know what “the” means? Think that’s the simplest of words? Think again.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently handed down a ruling in which it found fault with the way President Obama (and many earlier presidents) have made “recess appointments:” appoints that normally require Senate confirmation but which are made for a limited time because the Senate is in recess and therefore cannot provide that confirmation. The ruling turns a great deal on the meaning of “the” — or more precisely, the meaning of “the” at the time of the drafting of the Constitution.
Over at LAWnLinguistics, Neil Goldfarb doesn’t think much of the D.C. Circuit’s effort to bear down on the meaning of “the.”