'legalize' = "refer disputes about X to the courts"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 6 04:02:17 UTC 2005

At 6:26 PM -0700 4/4/05, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
>>From a piece by Jeffrey Rosen in Sunday's Washington Post:
>Judges today are being catapulted into public view as personalities
>who seem fair game for attack rather than as anonymous oracles of the
>law. Part of the reason for this is the legalization of politics:
>Both liberals and conservatives are increasingly asking judges to
>decide issues -- from the right to die to presidential elections --
>that politics are unable to resolve.
>As best I can tell, no dictionary has this sense.
And perhaps the *verb* doesn't exist in this sense, although it would
be an obvious back-formation from the nominal in Rosen's piece.
(Those -(t)ion nominals are sometimes better candidates for
innovative use than their purported verbal "bases":  I'm pretty sure
resultative nominals like "McDonaldization", "Manhattanization", etc.
predated the corresponding causative/inchoative verbs.)


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