found unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that

belongedto

Senior Member
Chinese
I read something at Portion or Part? It depends on the context -

Have you ever read something like the following sentence in a brief? “In 2010, the court found unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that . . . .” The focus here is on the word portion. Is portion used correctly in the sentence? The answer is no. But does it really matter? It does, for the precise legal writer.

I can not understand the structure in red color.

Is "find ADJECTIVE SOMETHING" a acceptable pattern?
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That's a special legal meaning of find. It really means "declared" or "ruled (made a ruling)" in regular English.

    the court found [to be] unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that . .
    the court declared [to be] unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that . .
    the court ruled as unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that .


    To say it in more natural everyday English it needs to be flipped around.

    the court declared that the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that said … is unconstitutional
    the court ruled that the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that said … is unconstitutional
     

    belongedto

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That's a special legal meaning of find. It really means "declared" or "ruled (made a ruling)" in regular English.

    the court found [to be] unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that . .
    the court declared [to be] unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that . .
    the court ruled as unconstitutional the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that .


    To say it in more natural everyday English it needs to be flipped around.

    the court declared that the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that said … is unconstitutional
    the court ruled that the portion of the [statute/law/rule] that said … is unconstitutional
    Thank you.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The structure is actually verb + noun phrase + object complement:

    The court found the new law unconstitutional.
    The court found the new law a violation of the constitution. (? - I'm not sure we'd commonly say this.)
    The court found the new law to be in violation of the constitution.
    The court declared Mr Tshisekedi the winner of the election.
    The court declared the boycott illegal.

    In your original sentence there has been 'heavy shift'. A heavy (long) phrase has been moved to the right, so that the short complement can be quickly understood first:

    The court found the law unconstitutional. :thumbsup:
    The court found portions of the law unconstitutional. :thumbsup:
    The court found the portion of the law that authorized the building of a wall around the Capitol unconstitutional. :thumbsdown:
    The court found unconstitutional the portion of the law that authorized the building of a wall around the Capitol. :thumbsup:

    Because the object contains a relative clause, which could contain any words with any grammar, it is too easy to get confused and try to understand 'unconstitutional' as part of it. So we say the shorter phrase first.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top