Don’t Distract the Judge

Presenting arguments before the US Supreme Court is a nerve-racking experience. How much worse must it have been for Randolph Barnhouse? He made the unfortunate mistake of using the word “choate” as the antonym of “inchoate.”

Justice Scalia immediately noticed that choate is not the antonym of inchoate and that, in fact, choate is not a word. Despite Barnhouse’s attempts to turn Scalia’s attention from the gaffe, the judge had the final say, comparing the mistake to using “gruntled” as the antonym of “disgruntled.”

Is it just me or is that like being caught saying a made-up word in an interview for the job of your dreams? Barnhouse will be kicking himself for years to come.

Oh, and if you were wondering, antonyms for inchoate are: developed, grown, mature. Antonyms for disgruntled are: contented, happy, pleased, satisfied, uncritical.

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