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112 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 1 (2013-2014)

handle is hein.journals/mlro112 and id is 1 raw text is: 













  ONE REDEEMING QUALITY ABOUT THE 112TH

     CONGRESS: REFOCUSING ON DESCRIPTIVE

     RATHER THAN EVOCATIVE SHORT TITLES




                         Brian Christopher Jones*





                              INTRODUCTION

    The consensus with regard to the 112th Congress is that it was a massive
failure': the Congress passed fewer laws than in previous years, and the
contemptuous debates over the debt ceiling and the so-called fiscal cliff' did
not win this Congress many supporters. So what redeeming qualities could
have been present in such an irredeemable Congress? I believe that there was
at least one: a returning focus on descriptive short titles for laws, rather than a
perpetuation of the evocative and tendentious short titles that have been
commonplace over the past couple of decades.
    A recent publication of mine explored what I called the Congressional
Short Title (R)Evolution,2 for over the past few decades, short titles have
become more frequently used, longer, and more likely to employ acronyms
or personalization; they have also increasingly used evocative words while


     *   Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica. The
author would like to thank the Michigan Law Review staff for their helpful comments and
assistance throughout the publication process. Additionally, the author would like to thank
Alexander E. Darrah, Barrister-At-Law, for his insightful comments on an earlier draft of this
Essay. Any errors in this Essay are the author's alone.
     1. In fact, The Week put together a list of the most insulting media labels for the 112th
Congress. They are as follows: (1) most dysfunctional ever, Sacramento Bee; (2) crawling out
with the soft whimper of failure, Politico; (3) the most worthless, incompetent, do-nothing
gathering of lawmakers in the nation's history, LA Times; (4) took incompetence to a higher
level, The Daily Beast; (5) the do-nothing 112th Congress, Think Progress; (6) clowns, The
Washington Times; (7) It achieved nothing, Bloomberg; (8) most unproductive session since
the 1940s, The Huffington Post; (9) least effective and most disliked, Business Insider; and
(10) least productive in recorded history, Allvoices. Harold Maass, 10 Insulting Labels for the
Outgoing     112th     Congress,    THE      WEEK      (Jan.     3     2013),
http://theweek.com/article/index/238354/10-insulting-labels- for-the-outgoing- 112th-congress.
     2. Brian Christopher Jones, The Congressional Short Title (R)Evolution: Changing the
Face   of  America's  Public Laws,   101   KY.  L.J.  ONLINE   42-64   (2013),
http://www.kentuckylawjournal.org/jones-short -title-revolution/.

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