WARNING: This episode contains opinions of a law-nerd nature. Discretion is advised.
Have you ever encountered the parenthetical “(cleaned up)” at the end of a case citation? By now over 5,000 judicial opinions in nearly ever jurisdiction have used it, including the U.S. Supreme Court. So it’s time you got acquainted with it.
The credit (or blame) for introducing this new device goes to Jack Metzler. Jack shares how he came up with the innovation over several long moments of deliberation on Twitter (specifically: about 90 seconds). But unlike most tweets, Jack’s idea flourished into a law review article that now stands as the 2nd most-often cited article in judicial opinions of all time (and only 40 citations behind Justice Louis Brandeis’s 1st place paper).
Jack subjects himself to the following questioning:
❔What does (cleaned up) even mean? Answer: It means you can start a quote with a capital letter without using those stupid ugly square brackets, without having to explain it. And other stuff like that.
❔Ok, so judges are using it. But will judges trust lawyers to use it faithfully? Answer: Judges already don’t trust lawyers, so I don’t even understand your question.
❔I think the judges want to see the quote exactly as it appeared. Answer: That’s not even a question. And no one is forcing you to use (cleaned up).