One of the comedy channels on satellite radio features a fellow who mocks people for asking questions that he considers stupid because the answer is so obvious, for example, a person who sees you jacking up your car to remove a deflated tire and asks, “Got a flat?” The question is well-intentioned, even neighborly, but it irritates.

Perhaps I am too quick to draw analogies (a habit developed through years of comparing and contrasting sets of facts), but I see a similarity between that kind of unnecessary question and the unnecessary warm-up phrase, “In its opinion, the court held [ruled or reasoned] …” The phrase “In its opinion” is unnecessary because the only place a court would hold (rule or reason) is, almost by definition, in its opinion.

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