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"Further Consideration of This Appeal Pends the Supreme Court's Decision":

This is from the Ninth Circuit's order in Im v. Mukasey:

The Opinion filed August 13, 2007, appearing at 497 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2007), is withdrawn. Further consideration of this appeal pends the Supreme Court's decision in Negusie v. Mukasey, No. 07-499, or further order of this court. It may not be cited as precedent by or to this court or any district court of the Ninth Circuit.

This is an interesting linguistic move, it seems to me. "Pend" is used to mean "awaits" or "is delayed until," but the dictionaries I've checked don't note such a meaning for the verb. Yet "pending" does mean "while awaiting" or "[r]emaining undecided [or] awaiting decision or settlement" (I quote the OED here), so "pend" seems to be used as a back formation from that meaning of "pending." In any case, not unreasonable, though based on my experience and my quick online searches, highly unidiomatic.

Zacharias (mail):
It seems that "pends upon the Supreme Court decision" would be more idiomatic.
4.14.2008 11:39am
MikeR:
Who cares about such things; it's finally clement up here in the north!
4.14.2008 11:51am
Curt Fischer:
From the OED I found a not-very-good entry that the editors should revise. But the thrust of the entry is towards the definition that the judge used, or at least so I think. I'm sure Prof. Volokh already looked at this entry, but maybe decided it was not relevant, perhaps because the entry is so confusing.


pend, v.5

Chiefly Business.


trans. To treat as pending; to postpone deciding on or attending to; to defer.
1953 P. FRANKAU Winged Horse III. i. 178 Why didn't you ask J.G. to pend it till New Year? 1970 New Scientist 16 July 134 It has done this by 'pending' the settlement of nine patent applications. 2003 Westchester County (N.Y.) Business Jrnl. (Nexis) 17 Mar. 15 At times, claims are pended because of coordination of benefits or other issues, and they may be delayed somewhat.


The problem is that although the entry is listed as being for a transitive use of the verb, only one of the quoted passages has a transitive usage of "pend". Additionally, the definitions given ("to treat as pending", etc) are hard to parse in a transitive way.
4.14.2008 12:01pm
DiverDan (mail):
I didn't look it up, but doesn't "pends" literally mean "hangs"? It's from the same latin verb root as "pendant" and "pendulum". Seems that the use by the Court, while idiomatic, is easily understood -- "your decision will be left hanging until the Supreme Court rules on an issue relevant to our decision."
4.14.2008 12:05pm
Dave N (mail):
I would be curious to see Alex Kozinski's take on the use of the word. He is, after all, both the Chief Judge and very precise in his language usage.
4.14.2008 12:20pm
xx:
Curt - all of those uses seem transitive to me, they're just passive, which makes it less obvious.

That definition doesn't seem applicable to the court's usage though. I assume the court uses it to mean "awaits," not "causes to be postponed," otherwise the Ninth Circuit is making a very surprising claim about its ability to supercede the Supreme Court's docket.
4.14.2008 12:22pm
Hanah Volokh (mail) (www):
You might say this is one of the only times "pends" is used in this way.
4.14.2008 12:49pm
overlord:
pends

1. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of pend. (To delay or wait on action)

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pends
4.14.2008 1:00pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Let's not forget the heraldic use, as in "attorneys pendant on a field of lilies".
4.14.2008 1:05pm
D.A.:
My Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 2d edition says:

pend (verb): to await judgment or decision.
4.14.2008 1:17pm
Carolina:
What is the purpose of using this word?

Is "awaits" somehow deficient? I have nothing against using unusual words, if the fifty-cent word conveys a shade of meaning the five-cent word does not.

This is awkward and silly, and confuses the reader without point.
4.14.2008 1:40pm
Curt Fischer:

xx: Curt - all of those uses seem transitive to me, they're just passive, which makes it less obvious.


Thanks for the reply, xx. On rereading I now agree with you about the OED's quotations. That'll teach me to post so carelessly.
4.14.2008 2:38pm
TomB (mail):
Yes, we're seeing more of the the nouveau usage of "verbing" a word* making a verb out of a word. This seems in California to include pend: to make something pending.

* Sorry I couldn't resist creating my own silly made-up word...
4.14.2008 3:06pm
xx:
"Is 'awaits' somehow deficient? I have nothing against using unusual words, if the fifty-cent word conveys a shade of meaning the five-cent word does not."

Carolina - Whatever the merits of the word choice, I think the court was trying to convey something that 'awaits' alone does not, namely some sense of compulsion. E.g. The Circuit hasn't simply opted to sit around and await the Supreme Court's decision, it is under some sort of obligation or holds some sort of responsibility to do so.
4.14.2008 3:29pm
Andrew Janssen (mail):
It seems that most of the other commentators read this very differently than I did. I initially interpreted it as saying "Further consideration of this appeal suspends the Supreme Court's Decision" and was a bit baffled as to how the 9th Circuit thought they could do that to the Supreme Court . . .
4.14.2008 3:48pm
Rubber Goose (mail):
About 30 years ago, I was playing Scrabble with my grandmother, and proudly placed down "pends" for my turn near the end of the game. My grandma said it wasn't a word and made me remove it.
You read this , grandma? I was right!!
4.14.2008 7:10pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

About 30 years ago, I was playing Scrabble with my grandmother, and proudly placed down "pends" for my turn near the end of the game. My grandma said it wasn't a word and made me remove it.
You read this , grandma? I was right!!

This is why in case of dispute you're supposed to consult a dictionary, not your opponent. :)
4.14.2008 8:32pm