Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Court Doesn't Believe in Magic

In the following court case, a "magic phrase" appears with a qualifier:

"[W]e disapproved the use of the term 'special relationship,' which we called a 'magic phrase' (and we do not believe in magic). For in both classes of case the victim is safe before the state intervenes and unsafe afterward. . . . If the fire department rescues you from a fire that would have killed you, this does not give the department a constitutional license to kill you, on the ground that you will be no worse off than if there were no fire department."
--Sandage v. Bd. of Comm’rs
2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 24059, 9-10 (7th Cir. 2008)

(From the book Sleight of (Learned) Hand.)

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