How clear would such language be to the average seven-year-old?
Suppose the hypothetical second grader asked his nanny on the way
home from school if he could have a cookie. The nanny replies:
"Dinner is at 6:00, and your mom doesn't want you to eat anything
too close to dinner time. She said you may have a treat if you
finish it not later than two hours before dinner, which is
In this hypothetical, the nanny does not place the word "only"
before "if," but isn't that implied? Let's pretend the child
forgets about the cookie until 4:30. He might try to sneak a cookie
or needle the nanny to allow it anyway, but he would not actually
believe his mother had been unclear about the situation.
The contrary argument would go something like this: "Mom said I
could have a treat if I finished it 'not later than two hours
before dinner time.' That much we know. But she really didn't say
anything about one and a half hours before dinner. So its up to
We know that nannies sometimes violate the wishes of their
employers, so the kid may get the cookie. But is there really any
doubt about what the mother intended in this situation, either to
the nanny or to the average child?
- Todd F.
Gaziano is the director of the Center for Legal and Judicial
Studies at the Heritage Foundation.
The New Jersey election statute permits substitutions to be made on
the ballot "not later than the 51st day before the general
election." The infamous New Jersey supreme court said the statute
was unclear regarding what to do on days closer to the election.
So, in keeping with its cousins in Florida, the court ignored the
statutory deadline, and declared that whatever the Democrats wanted
the Democrats got. That's not exactly what the court said, but that
seems to be what animated the decision.
Originally appeared in National Review online.