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“Constitutional Redundancies and Clarifying Clauses,” 33 Val. U. L. Rev. 1 (1998)


My topic today is redundancy of a certain sort-eonstitutional redundancy. You will perhaps have noticed that my topic sentence itself arguably involved a kind of redundancy-the word "redundancy" appeared twice. Does this make it a bad topic sentence? I hope not. Rather, I hope the end of my topic sentence helped clarify the beginning of the sentence by making express what might otherwise only have been implied. Since I am not a linguist but a constitutional scholar, when I said my topic today is redundancy of a certain sort, most of you probably inferred that I meant to address constitutional redundancy. Rather than leaving this to inference, however, I thought it best to be explicit. But suppose I had said instead that "my topic today is constitutional redundancy, which is my topic today." Would that have been a bad topic sentence? I think so. But what, exactly, is the difference between these two kinds of redundancy-the good kind and the bad kind-and how is that difference relevant to constitutional interpretation? These questions are also part of my topic today.

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