“The problems of Almighty God”

So how did this howler slip into a Supreme Court decision?

Eugene Volokh reports:

At page ten of his opinion, the Chief Justice purports to quote President George Washington’s first Thanksgiving proclamation as follows:

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the problems of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor. . . .”

The use of the word “problems” in that quotation is, of course, an error. The word that President Washington actually used is “providence.”

My bet: spellcheck did it, with a rushed or sleepy typist clicking “Change” rather than “Ignore” or “Learn.” Mistyping seems possible, but less likely.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com