The word “damn” easily slips off the lips of many people, as it is so much a part of today’s lexicon. But in the formal environment of the U.S. Supreme Court, an advocate’s use of the word during arguments Monday resounded with some lawyers present.

The utterance came in the case Opati v. Republic of Sudan in an exchange between Sudan’s lawyer, Christopher Curran of White & Case, and Justice Stephen Breyer. Curran argued a Supreme Court precedent had held that retroactive imposition of punitive damages was a “draconian step” and against the basic principles of fairness.

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