LOL Garamond sux, say federal judges

Enlarge / Keep your Garamond out of your briefs!

Aurich Lawson | Getty Photographs

Enable me bury the lede for a second to notify you a story. Lengthy back, in a magical realm known as Academe, professors grew clever to the outdated college student tricks of futzing with each margins and textual content spacing to make their essays in good shape a recommended webpage restrict. Triple spacing and two-inch margins could no lengthier save you from the outcomes of a debauched evening expended drinking on Franklin Road when you should really have been in the library looking through “Aurora Leigh” instead.

But for a couple shining a long time, professors did not mandate font choices—and they would not deploy the Red Pen of Shame unless of course you headlined your takedown of Barthes’ S/Z in, say, Comedian Sans.

As a person intent on remaining a Critical Writer™, I felt it my responsibility to generate papers that would absolutely showcase my genius. Papers that could, in the strictest perception, exceed the supplied site count. And when I was really wordsmithing the hell out of my evaluation of the court docket sermons of Lancelot Andrewes, it was usually Garamond that arrived to my rescue.

Ah, Garamond—how you saved me from performing the really hard, uninteresting, needed do the job of modifying! How you squeezed people added paragraphs back again onto site 5 rather of letting them lie there, bloated and obscene, atop the forbidden page six! How you presented that electric powered tingle of sophistication as I avoided the plebian, pedestrian, pathetic use of Times New Roman!

Well. Evidently I was not the only just one who played this game. My professors acquired worn out of looking through papers that ended up for a longer period than wanted. They started mandating (O ye gods!) 12-place Occasions New Roman, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins—or you’d get a large extra fat zero.

NO YUO

Quick-ahead to this week, when the DC Circuit Courtroom of Appeals came to the identical realization that attorneys use Garamond to cram much more than is strictly permitted into their legal briefs. Federal Rule of Appellate Process 32(a)(5) suggests only that “a proportionally spaced confront have to incorporate serifs” and should “be 14-level or more substantial.” But the regulations really don’t say what proportional fonts can be applied in legal filings.

As attorney John Elwood pointed out on Twitter, “Garamond is more compact than most fonts. For most appellate filings, its use will shave various pages off a short. For that purpose, it’s long been a last resort for web page-restricted filings.”

As a scaled-down font, it’s also just more durable to examine at the exact dimension as fonts like Situations New Roman. And the courtroom has experienced just about adequate of it.

“The courtroom has determined that sure typefaces, this sort of as Century and Occasions New Roman, are additional legible than many others, significantly Garamond, which seems more compact than the other two typefaces,” the DC Circuit declared this week. The courtroom, it explained, wants to “discourage use of Garamond.”

This led to the unconventional prospect of authorized media managing many items about font option this week as legal professionals argued in excess of the deserves of Baskerville and Gill Sans.

The DC Circuit’s animus against Garamond has not but distribute to the broader appellate procedure. Typeface procedures in the Fifth and Third Circuits are, effectively, just the normal Federal Policies of Procedure. But now that judges in an influential appellate circuit have demonstrated their pro-Periods New Roman bias, WILL GARAMOND Also Develop into A Target OF Terminate Tradition?

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