[Ads-l] Introducing the "mullet doctrine"

Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Tue Aug 14 23:29:25 EDT 2018

Recently brought to my attention, the (new?) legal concept of "the mullet


"This was first reported by Charlie at GeorgiaPol.com, and his headline was
“GA Court of Appeals Establishes ‘Mullet Doctrine.'” Although mine says the
court “rejects” it, I think both are correct under the circumstances.

"Because the majority may have refused to apply the doctrine, but it
established the term for all time. [...]

"He then dropped one of two significant footnotes in this case, stating
that “I see no Constitutional or logical reason to require officers to
conduct futile business in the front, when the party is clearly in the

"Obviously having read this in the draft opinion, the majority responded
with its own footnote saying that, respectfully, it was not convinced. The
case the dissent cited involved different facts, in particular a sign with
an arrow that stated “Party in Back.” Here there was no sign, and they saw
no illegal activity from the street. “Under these facts,” the majority
concluded, “the dissent’s ‘mullet doctrine’ does not ‘get the officers into
the party out back.'”

"GeorgiaPol points out that almost certainly, the dissenting judge knew
exactly what he was doing, even if he didn’t name it the “Mullet Doctrine,”
the point being that it’s possible to disagree and yet be respectful and
even humorous about it. The way things are now, it’s always nice to see a
reminder of that.

"Also to have another excuse to talk about mullets, because mullets are

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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