Russell Brunelle (russellb) wrote,
Russell Brunelle

Better translations for Latin maxims of statutory construction

After some effort I believe I've come up with better translations for the standard legal maxims of statutory construction. Here they are:

Ejusdem generis: This is not a maxim of statutory construction at all, but rather the name of a spell from the Harry Potter movies. The peculiar effect of an "Ejusdem generis!" spell was to turn name-brand prescription medications into their less-expensive generic equivalents. Attributed to Albus Dumbledore in his later years.

Expressio unius exclusio alterius: Literally translated, this means "I would like one espresso, and when you're finished making it please place it on this miniature altar that I have provided."

Generalia specialibus non derogant: This maxim of construction is mainly used in analyses of the UCMJ, and means, "Superior officers are special and you should not say anything derogatory about them."

Noscitur a sociis: Once again, not a maxim of statutory construction, but rather the name of the nightclub where the vampires socialized in Wesley Snipes' "Blade" movies. I ultimately found the Noscitur a Sociis to be pretentious, and the techno music got on my nerves after only an hour. Don’t go.

Omnia praesumuntur contra proferentem: This expression is attributed to George Wythe, and means "It is terribly presumptuous to disagree with your professor."

Reddendo singula singulis: This phrase translates as, "If you paint one more room of this house red I will leave you, and then you will be single." It mainly comes up in family law contexts.
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