We’ve written in the past about an advocate before the Supreme Court who taught Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. a new vocabulary word: romanette, an obscure but self-explaining word for lower-case roman numerals.

On Monday morning, the new word du jour was “orthogonal,” a mainly mathematical term for things that are perpendicular or at right angles to each other. University of Michigan law professor Richard Friedman, arguing for the plaintiffs in the Confrontation Clause case of Briscoe v. Virginia Monday, used the word in a broader sense to signify propositions that are extraneous or irrelevant to each other.

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