“He’s motioning for a new trial.”

In legal lingo, Parliamentary order on October 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

On “Hard Time,” on the National Geographic Channel (9/25/12), I heard one of my long-standing peeves, grounded deep in the parliamentary procedure of the Presbyterian Church (USA). At least in the church bodies, I can forgive my fellow commissioners for coming to a a meeting with less than full familiarity with the language in which their wishes must be couched. In the narration of a TV documentary show, not so much.

One makes a motion, or moves an action to lay it before a body. Yes, in ordinary life, one may move in the same way as making a motion, but even there, using the phrase puts the emphasis on the noun, the thing, the motion itself. Motioning also draws our attention to the particular act, but it belongs only in the ordinary realm. I suppose I could see this inmate, in the courtroom, making some gesture of familiarity to, say, a juror that could fulfill the NatGeo narration’s wording, but at the time the inmate was shown hard at work in his cell, reviewing case law and writing his motion.

I move for adjournment and watchfulness.


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