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Something to Keep in Mind:
According to 1 U.S.C. 1,
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise . . . the words "insane" and "insane person" and "lunatic" shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]
Hat tip: Mark Eckenwiler.
Plastic:
Interesting, and masculine also includes the feminine, but not vice versa. So if a law says it's illegal for men to enter a female restroom then it's illegal for any man or woman to enter the restroom, but if it's illegal for women to bath nude, men could still do so.
2.13.2009 6:26pm
Dunstan:
I think it reads better when edited this way:

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]"
2.13.2009 7:06pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
One presumes that common sense (remember that) will prevail in such instances.
2.13.2009 7:06pm
Patrick S. O'Donnell (mail) (www):
the lexicological lunacy of legislative hermeneutics
2.13.2009 7:34pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
What idiot came up with that definition?
2.13.2009 7:44pm
ChrisTS (mail):
I'm torn between saying, "The mind boggles," and observing that Ockham would think these are, still, too many terms.
2.13.2009 7:56pm
dearieme:
Surely an "idiot" is mentally defective/intellectually impaired rather than lunatic? (At least, I think we'd make that distinction in Britain.)
2.13.2009 8:08pm
CDR D (mail):
Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis


So what's new?
2.13.2009 8:10pm
Germanicus:
I guess this is one of those things they felt it would be good to clarify right at the start...
2.13.2009 8:24pm
TRE:
My state has a similar provision but it also includes "person of unsound mind." That would seem to be overly broad...
2.13.2009 9:06pm
Michael Drake (mail) (www):
Strange that that's still in there; I'd always thought that three generations of imbeciles are enough.
2.13.2009 10:06pm
Random Commenter:
Just a coincidence Orin posted this on the day the $787 billion "stimulus" bill was passed?
2.14.2009 1:09am
Cleland:
Apropos the Joe the Plumber ad on the main page today.
2.14.2009 1:29am
Sergei Zhulik (mail) (www):
I'm not so harsh on Joe the Plumber as Cleland, but I do think his fifteen minutes have been up for about three months. Time to stop encouraging Joe to represent views that would be best served by VCers. ;^)
2.14.2009 1:43am
jccamp (mail):
So that's how Congress is able to exempt themselves from so many laws they pass. 1 USC 1 specifically fails to mention "moron" as a qualifying condition, "moron" by statute being non-synonymous with "idiot, lunatic...etc"
2.14.2009 3:21pm
Wilpert Archibald Gobsmacked (mail):
I'm with Dunstan. But why state the obvious? Wouldn't "judicial notice" be sufficient?
2.14.2009 5:47pm
CDR D (mail):
>1 USC 1 specifically fails to mention "moron" as a qualifying condition...<


It also fails to mention "imbecile".

Another out for Nancy Pelosi.
2.14.2009 7:04pm
krs:
Plastic, note the qualifier "unless the context indicates otherwise."
2.15.2009 3:37am
Happyshooter:
Didn't Buck v Bell use two other classes of what we call today retarded besides idiot, and allow government reproductive destruction in all three classes?

Why are those two classes not listed here?
2.16.2009 9:52am
Joseph Slater (mail):
See also, Joel, Billy, "You May Be Right" ("You may be right, I may be crazy, But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for").
2.16.2009 10:43am
Mikeyes (mail):
Are these terms ("every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis") legal rather than medical terms? Doesn't someone have to be adjudicated to be so before they apply?

Otherwise they make no sense.
2.16.2009 1:05pm
Happyshooter:
I was wrong. Sorry. The quotes from Buck v Bell:

***Carrie Buck is a feeble minded white woman who was committed to the State Colony above mentioned in due form. She is the daughter of a feeble minded mother in the same institution, and the mother of an illegitimate feeble minded child.***[some law] approved March 20, 1924, recites that the health of the patient and the welfare of society may be promoted in certain cases by the sterilization of mental defectives***

The judgment finds the facts that have been recited and that Carrie Buck "is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization," and thereupon makes the order.***

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, in order to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.
2.16.2009 4:11pm

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