User talk:Lord Emsworth/Archive 3

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Peerage stuff[edit]

The policy you suggest sounds right to me. In fact, it's been the policy I've generally been following (Sorry about the linking dates thing, though). What do you think we should do about titles like, say, Earl of Anglesey and Marquess of Anglesey, where the same title was never held by the same person? Should these be separate articles, as now? The same would apply, I think to Earl of Albemarle and Duke of Albemarle, which are now one page...john 17:59, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

BTW, if we want to start splitting out titles, Duke of Hamilton would be a good place to start. The article is seriously overrun with subsidiary title discussion at the moment. john 18:08, 27 Mar 2004 (UTC)

All of the peerages seem to be listed at Leigh Rayment's page you directed me to earlier (except for "D", which seems to be missing). But actually listing it out from there would be rather difficult. Complete Peerage is, well, complete, for the period it covers - up to 1930 or so. And then various editions of Burke's could be used. john 02:44, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think you have to save the "D" page from the link on the main page and access it locally, as it seems to be in an different format from the rest. Proteus 11:27, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I have access to the D page. One must wait for a while in order for it to load; one then receives a message, using which one must download a program from Windows allowing one to use pages of such a format. (The D page appears like an Excel sheet; one may even edit the contents of the cells.) However, even after making the download, the page does not load quickly.
My local library, being as terrible as it is, probably does not have a copy of Cokayne's Complete Peerage. Therefore, I think that I might compose a list of Viscounts from Leigh Rayment's page, unless someone else has the book and will volunteer the service. -- Emsworth 11:44, Mar 29, 2004 (UTC)
My list of Earldoms was composed using the database at, which (although it has many mistakes) might be quicker for compiling lists than Leigh Rayment's page. Proteus 12:24, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I separated out Earl of Dumfries from Marquess of Bute some time ago, as it has a different background altogether. Is that article set up properly? Mackensen 18:34, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Duke of Omnium[edit]

Hey, don't forget the Duke of Omnium! :-) But seriously, it would be handy to mention it somewhere, in case Trollope readers are thinking it's a real dukedom, a la the entries in list of fictional ships and similar lists. Stan 06:44, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

List of fictional peerage titles? john 09:09, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)
That sounds like a very good idea. Duke of Chalfont, anyone? Proteus 09:32, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Earl of Greystoke? john 09:47, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Oh, and we can't forget the Earl of Trentham and his amusingly-titled contemporary the Earl of Carton, of Gosford Park fame. Proteus 10:33, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Why not Earl of Emsworth? -- Emsworth 11:41, Mar 29, 2004 (UTC)
Actually, I almost added the succession tables to the Threepwood article. Mackensen 18:31, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I amused myself recently by compiling the following list of fictional peerage titles (with some fictional baronets thrown in for good measure). This listing should be read as [fictional title] [book in which fictional title appears] [author] [year published].

Sir Buckstone Abbott, Bt - Summer Moonshine - P G Wodehouse - 1938

Sir Ogilvy Hibberd, later Lord Aberfordbury - The Barsetshire series - Angela Thirkell - 1933 o

Lord Leonard Alcar - The Great Adventure (play) - Arnold Bennett - 1913

Lord Alcester - The Night of Glory (short story in Here and Hereafter) - Barry Pain - 1911

Matthew Radlett, Lord Alconleigh - The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford - 1945

Lord Hubert Aldringham - Three Weeks - Elinor Glyn - 1907

Lord John Alington - Prisoners - Mary Cholmondeley - 1906

Lord Alloa - The Thirty Nine Steps - John Buchan - 1915

Lord Anstey - Laura's Bishop - George Birmingham - 1949

Sir Richard Anstruther, Bt - The Broad Highway - Jeffrey Farnol - 1910

Lord Argentine - The Great God Pan - Arthur Machen - 1894

Lord and Lady Ascot - Ravenshoe - Henry Kingsley - 1861

Sir Michael Audley - Lady Audley's Secret - Mary Braddon - 1862

Ian Stewart, Lord Auldearn - Hamlet, Revenge! - Michael Innes - 1937

Theresa, Dowager Countess of Austell and her son James, Earl of Austell - The Osbornes - E F Benson - 1910

Walter, Baron of Avenal - The Monastery - Sir Walter Scott - 1820

Edward, Lord Avon - Rodney Stone - Arthur Conan Doyle - 1896

Duke of Ayr and Stirling - While the Sun Shines (play) - Terence Rattigan - 1943

This is only those starting with "A". In other words, it's a long list! Should I continue?

[Sea Lion 2 June 2004]

By all means! It looks very comprehensive. We obviously can't have it at List of fictional peerage titles, though, because of the baronets and courtesy titles (I'm going to give the authors the benefit of the doubt here, and assume they don't think "Lord Firstname Surname" is a peer), so List of fictional titles would probably be a better bet. (I've also just remembered that we can't forget the Earl of Harrow.) Proteus (Talk) 13:00, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)[edit]

I just used other databases to work those out once my main list was compiled. Searching on Google (both web and groups) usually comes up with the answer pretty quickly, and the database can usually give good info on the history of titles if you simply search for the surname. It's all dependent, of course, on what works best for you. I find it difficult to work from Leigh Rayment's page as a primary source for info because I keep having to switch pages to find out about earlier titles, but that could just be me. Proteus 21:15, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

To answer your question to Proteus, shouldn't it be also Viscount Osborne in the Peerage of Scotland? john 00:12, 30 Mar 2004 (UTC)


Nope, don't have the earlier stuff. I can look at Haydn's Book of Dignities when I get the chance, but that won't be till sometime next week at earliest. john 23:35, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Sir Julius Caesar[edit]

I put Sir Julius Caesar at Sir Julius Caesar because I thought that someone searching for the man would almost certainly put "Sir Julius Caesar" into google (or whatever) than Julius Caesar judge, and I didn't want the article to be hard to find. I knew this was against normal principles but as he shared his name with someone infinitely more famous I wanted to make sure it could be found easily, and that this was a suitable case to make an exception. I see that the Wikipedia article is the number 1 hit for a search for Sir Julius Caesar, so I guess it can now be moved without affecting the google hit rate. Mintguy (T) 08:54, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Personally, the whole "no sir" thing seems ridiculous to me. It's a natural disambiguator, and as such, should be used when appropriate to disambiguate. john 21:33, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

WikiProject British Government?[edit]

Do you think it might be a good idea to start a wikiproject to try to standardize the various succession tables that've been being put at the bottom of articles on British politicians? For someone like Churchill, the whole thing is madness - some work towards standardizing might be in order. john 21:34, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I'd say chronological order, with the possible exception of service as Prime Minister, which could go first. john 22:32, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)


My Lord: herewith my comment to John Kenny on his reversion of Eden: "I remain completely mystified by this attitude. The purpose of an encyclopaedia is to give readers new information, not just confirm them in what they already know. The fact is that after 1961 he was not Anthony Eden, he was the Earl of Avon, and I fail to see why this should not be reflected in the title of the article. The beauty of the online encyclopaedia is that we can do this without making the article any harder to find, since a search for "Anthony Eden" will take the reader directly to the article whatever it is titled. I am still of the view that the opposition to the obvious logic of giving all peers their correct titles comes from the anti-British prejudice of Americans who think that all titles are silly. Given my conversations with you on other subjects, I had thought better of you." Adam 04:27, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

In the Peerage lists I've been looking for Marmaduke Furness, 1883-1940 created Viscount Furness in 1918. Can you help? JillandJack 16:38, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

List of Viscountcies[edit]

Sorry for the delay in this reply, but I've been on holiday for a while, and only just read your question on my talk page. You seem to be using the same system as I used on the Earldoms page, which I think is the best way of doing it. The basic thing, I think, is to include all other titles connected with the main one as long as they are of at least the same level (so the Viscountcies page should list other Viscountcies held, but the Earldoms page shouldn't). I've used basically what you seem to be using on the new page: Viscount Edinburgh - subsidiary title of the Marquess of London (highest title created at same time as main title), created Earl of Cardiff at the same time (any other titles created at same time as main title), also Earl of London and Viscount Cardiff (titles held before creation of main title), also Earl of Belfast and Viscount Dublin from 1900 (titles created for someone else and inherited by holder of main title), created Duke of London and Marquess of Belfast in 1950 (titles created for holder of main title). I also included the Peerage if it was different from the main title. So for Osborne and Latimer I'd do what you've done: Viscount Osborne - created Viscount Latimer in England in 1673; Viscount Latimer - also Viscount Osborne in Scotland. You seem to have figured this out already though, and the page looks very good. (It does seem as if it will be a lot of work, though... What would be really useful is a database dump from - I wonder if e-mailing the webmaster would be helpful.) Proteus 15:24, 8 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The case of the disappearing metro map[edit]

Your Lordship, it has come to my attention that the fair use map that I uploaded to be used on the Moscow Metro article that was a response to your question about the colours on the list of lines has disappeared from that article. There is at least one other metro article that has a similar map and my thought was that such maps would be useful to our readers. Pray tell are you aware of the machinations that led to such an erroneous occurence? I ask you because perhaps you are aware of a legitimate reason it has been removed from that page (though apparently the image still resides upon the Wikipedia server). Any information would be most appreciated, as always... — © Alex756 06:02, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Thank you, my Lordship, I have replaced the metro map and done some formating to the article. — © Alex756 21:19, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The mysterious Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon[edit]

My Lord, what do you think?

However logical the policy on royal nomenclature may seem, a policy which results in the Queen Mother being called Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon is absurd, and therefore wrong. This ceased to be her name in 1923 and is recognised by no-one except historians. It's all very well to call James I's wife Anne of Denmark, when she was actually called Queen Anne, because she's no longer a well-known public figure. But the QM is, and she should be called by the name the current generation knows her as. So I have moved her to Elizabeth the Queen Mother to see what happens. Adam 11:07, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Dear Adam - May I suggest you read all the previous discussion on this topic before taking such a drastic step. There has already been considerable and lengthy debate over the title of this article. Deb 14:59, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I have read it. Wikpedia's most fundamental structural problem is that it privileges process over product. Here we have a wonderful process which has produced an absurd product, and no-one seems to mind. That is because Wikipedia still exists primarily for its writers rather than for its readers. I repeat: calling the QM by her maiden name 80 years after her marriage is absurd, and any policy that produces absurd outcomes is itself absurd, and should be changed. For what it's worth, my print encyclopaedias call her
Elizabeth, Queen Mother of Great Britain (Colliers)
Elizabeth, Queen Consort of George VI of Great Britain (Britannica)

Adam 15:13, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Adam 15:29, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Lords Spiritual[edit]

I've tried looking on Parliament's website for clarification, but it's not very helpful, and its only definition of "Peer" is on the children's section, ignores Viscounts and spells Marquess as "Marquis", so I'd be inclined to believe Debrett's and classify them as Peers. Perhaps things have changed since 1911? Proteus 09:26, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

What does Burke's say? I don't believe that Complete Peerage listed lords spiritual. john 19:03, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, then I'd be inclined to say that they're not peers. Debrett's is wrong about all kinds of things, isn't it? john 20:26, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Well, it can be repugnant to common sense and still happen. I'm not sure the speech is especially significant. But perhaps we should just report that the question is disputed, and note what Burke's and Debrett's say? john 20:32, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

The question is discussed here. No real consensus though, except maybe that bishops are "kind of" peers. john 20:44, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

AMA co-ordinator election is now on[edit]

You may now vote for user:Ed_Poor or user:Alex756 in the first ever AMA co-ordinator election. Follow the instructions on Wikipedia:AMA Coordinator Election Procedure for more details.

AMA members who wish to abstain from voting must also e-mail with notice of that intent.

To clarify anything before voting, ask user_talk:Zanimum or user_talk:Jwrosenzweig on their talk pages.

AMA members have until April 30, at 11:00:00 EST to vote. -- user:zanimum

Your vote has been counted. Jwrosenzweig 15:52, 20 Apr 2004 (UTC)

A really unimportant, just cause I wanna know, question about the British peerage[edit]

Do you know who the youngest peer currently is, who holds the title in his own right? RickK 04:13, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Thanks. RickK 14:51, 19 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Viscount Selby,who was born October 18th 1993.--Louis Epstein/

Lord Chamberlain[edit]

Assuming you mean the First World War, according to a post in a.t.r, it was William Mansfield, 1st Viscount Sandhurst (1855-1921), who was LC from 1912-1921. (He was given the Viscountcy in 1917, so he may have been 2nd Baron Sandhurst when the TDA was passed.)

Peerage MediaWiki thingy[edit]

Hey, Emsworth, what do you think of creating some sort of mediawiki panels to guide through the various pages that have different kinds of lists of the peerage. I.e.

Surely some sort of process of ordering them, and telling people about all the other pages, is in order.

Some kind of media wiki thing on articles on individual peerage titles might be useful, too, but I'm not sure how to do it. Perhaps an alphabetical thing? john 06:39, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Obviously there are too many peerage titles to fit in one table. I was thinking of a kind of Ab-Am kind of thing, with peerage titles within a narrow alphabetical frame listed, or something. john 20:28, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)

First names in article titles[edit]

Asking the one who knows.. At present, Countess Mountbatten of Burma is at Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma. If (as is suggested by the table in her father's article, though I haven't checked it) she is only called Patricia, should it rather be at Patricia Mountbatten, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma? We don't have all first names in article titles on people generally, right? (Of course the problem is finding out which name is/was used..) -- Jao 13:21, 2 May 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, it should probably be moved. We probably have too many articles on peers with full names that aren't really used. Unlike commoners, it's frequently hard to know what name was used, because they're usually just known as "Lord So and So"... john 17:29, 2 May 2004 (UTC)

Peerage: References[edit]

Hmm...I think it's fine as it is. Perhaps you can consolidate references, so that all of the ones for Velde's site, or all of the ones for Cox's site, have only one link. john 21:09, 3 May 2004 (UTC)

I think they're great as they are. Proteus (Talk) 19:33, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

European Union FAC[edit]

Hi there, just to let you know the objection you raised to the article European Union on the FAC page has been addressed. Please view the piece in question and remove the objection if you are sufficiently happy that the new piece is suitable.

Thanks, Zoney 09:25, 7 May 2004 (UTC)

Principality of Wales[edit]

I don't really know. Every description of the peerage mentions the five grades, and I've never seen "Prince" listed above Duke. On the other hand, it does behave in a very similar way to a peerage, and the HOLA does seem to imply that the government think it's a peerage of some sort. In a way, it seems more like the early mediaeval Earldoms, more of an office than a peerage (with the installation ceremony and what not), but I'm not sure how that relates to modern practice. On the whole, I think its status is weird enough for it not to be counted as a "peerage" in the normal sense, and it's probably better to describe it as having its own unique status (a bit like a mid way point between the peerage and the crown) than to treat it as a special type of peerage. Proteus (Talk) 17:07, 12 May 2004 (UTC)

Christopher Guest[edit]

Hi, I don't know if the Peerage debate is still going on, and I certainly didn't want to restart it, but should Guest really be at Christopher Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest? Does he actually use that title? Even if he does, I'd bet 99% of readers would just know him as Christopher Guest the actor. Well, as I said, I didn't want to start that whole debate again by moving it, so I thought I'd ask you first...I mean, even Bertrard Russell wasn't moved back to the "Baron Russell" title :) Adam Bishop 02:37, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Earl Russell for old Bertrand, but I agree - Christopher Guest should be at Christopher Guest. john 02:57, 19 May 2004 (UTC)

Frances Shand Kydd[edit]

My Lord, do you agree with me that Frances Ruth Burke-Roche should be moved to Frances Shand Kydd, the name by which she was generally known? If so, could you move her there? Even if you don't, Burke Roche doesn't have a hyphen so she needs to be moved anyway. I'm also surprised to see that the current Earl Spencer doesn't have an article. There's a project for someone. Regards, Adam 12:53, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Many thanks. Adam 13:20, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Ian McKellen[edit]

I think you and Proteus are being a bit silly on this issue. "Sir Ian" is not the equivalent of "McKellen" for non-knights, but the equivalent of "Mr. McKellen." "McKellen" should be perfectly fine, just as Robert Peel, Robert Walpole, and Henry Campbell-Bannerman are all referred to by their last names throughout their articles. john k 06:39, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It's different for historical figures. I'd prefer it if we did what British newspapers do, and refer to "Mr Blair" (because he's still alive) and "Churchill" (because he's dead), at least for British people, since that is the predominant custom here. The constant surname-only references strike me as rather rude. (I wouldn't dream of writing an article on you referring to you as "Kenney", and I'd extend the same courtesy to everyone else.) Proteus (Talk) 10:00, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Copyright problems?[edit]

Check out Wikipedia talk:WikiProject_Peerage at the bottom, as well as User talk:Andrew Yong. Apparently Mr. Rayment feels that our use of material from his page violates his copyright on his work. I'm not familiar with copyright law, but I'd have thought that the contents of a list cannot be copyrighted. (There's also the fact that his own work is clearly derived from various publicly available reference works, which are not, in fact, properly sourced on the page.) At any rate, I think a response is in order. john k 03:40, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I've transferred it all to Wikipedia:Request for immediate removal of copyright violation, and replied. I put up some bravado, but I have to say I'm uncertain if we're on sound ground here. I'd never even considered the possibility before that lists of information could be copyright violations. john k 04:03, 14 Jun 2004 (UTC)


Now that you have withdrawn your objection to Billboard as a featured candidate, would you mind putting a strike-out over your "Object" statement so that it doesn't get counted? Thanks for the many comments, I appreciate your hard look at the article. Jkeiser 01:59, 15 Jun 2004 (UTC)


from the pump

When attempting to edit Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, one comes across a "database error." One is instructed to restart the transaction. What would cause such a problem? -- Emsworth 14:45, Jun 12, 2004 (UTC)

In my experience this is pure random chance. I would suggest that you try it a few more times and see if you can't get through. If not.. well.. I wouldn't know what to do then. :/ -- Grunt 14:55, 2004 Jun 12 (UTC)
I hope I am permitted to delete and undelete the page to resolve this issue. -- Emsworth 15:16, Jun 12, 2004 (UTC)
I had the same problem earlier with Flat-clawed Hermit Crab (it worked in the 10th try), and then this page showed that error. And above are two sections about pages which have the same problem, e.g. Template:Opentask. I think a developer has to look into it, this looks like a serious database problem growing... andy 15:19, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Well, its working now... so let's hope it's not too significant a problem. -- Emsworth 15:25, Jun 12, 2004 (UTC)

Request for AMA assistance[edit]

Your lordship... We have received an anonymous request for AMA assistance from an IP address, I have directed that individual to contact me if they wish not to create a Wikipedia account. If you are interested in helping please let me know and if I hear from this individual I will try and put you in contact. See Wikipedia:AMA Requests for Assistance. Thank you. As ever, — © Alex756 03:06, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)

My most Gracious and Esteemed Lordship... Thank you for your comment on my talk page about that annoymous user. I must point out that not everyone who approaches us is going to be asking for mediation or arbitration, they may just need some explanations. This user was asking for help from an advocate. What kind of help this anonymous person was asking for is not clear, but if he (or she) wants the help of an advocate, even just to explain the system to him, I think that is within our balliwick. I think the overarching goal of AMA members is to help an individual understand the system, not to necessarily "represent" them in an official capacity, but also to lend a guiding hand, communicate with them and try to explain the system to them. Even if someone comes to us with what looks to be an accuracy problem they deserve our help in undstanding what kind of situation they are in. We do not refuse to help someone because they are confused? That would defeat the purpose of our organization, wouldn't it? Yours, etc.... — © Alex756 00:50, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)
PS, Princess Maureen of New Utopia recently contacted me and told me that it is not appropriate to call her "Your Royal Highness" as I am not a subject of New Utopia, however as I am the citizen of a commonwealth country I assume it is proper to address Your Lordship in the proper manner.

First Class Cricket[edit]

Hi, I noticed that you were working on the definition of first class cricket and what teams play first class cricket. While you mentioned that a national team could play a regional team in a first class match, there doesn't seem to be a reference to the fact that two national teams could play a first class match (such as the recent US v Canada match). I thought I'd add the comment here rather than edit the article in case I've misinterpreted what you've written (which is entirely possible). --Roisterer 04:19, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for that. After posting I realised that other teams have also played first class cricket (such as MCC & President's XI's) but found that your addition had anticipated my thoughts. --Roisterer 22:22, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The Queen[edit]

My Lord, I have to some extent reversed the changes you have seen fit to make to my section Constitutional Status in Queen Elizabeth II. I intended this to be confined to the constitutional basis for her tenure of the post of head of state in both the UK and the Commonwealth Realms (CRs). I have therefore moved your material on her role in the UK Parliament to Political Role, where it fits more naturally. I have reistated the material I wrote about her constitutional status in the CRs, because I think your description is a bit antique. The Statute of Westminster was really about severing the legislative links between the UK and the Dominions, and the changes to the status of the Crown, although implicit, only became clear over time - it was certainly nobody's intention in 1931 to create separate Dominion Crowns. In any case only three of the present CRs were Dominions in 1931 (Canada, Australia and New Zealand) - all the other CRs are ex-colonies. I don't think the abdication crisis has much contemporary relevance, since the attitude to monarchy in the CRs, even the old Dominions, has changed radically since then.

On the Queen's personal legal status in the UK, S B Chrimes says: "The King is by law, as by nature, a mere mortal man... From the purely legal standpoint the King is a natural person who possesses a number of rights and powers not vested in any other person, some by virtue of royal prerogative (ie by common law relating to the King), some by virtue of Act of Parliament." It seems to me to follow from this that although the Queen cannot be tried or sued for any act performed in her capacity as Queen, or for any act carried out in her name, she could be tried for an act committed in her personal capacity as a natural person subject to the law - assault, for example. This has never been tested, but I doubt that British public opinion would today accept that any person is entirely immune from the criminal law. I have made a comment to this effect. Adam 05:03, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

My Lord, thanks for your courteous reply. I take your point about the complex relationship between constitutional law and heteditary right in both the UK and the Dominions. I will try another wording and see if that satisfies. Adam 14:28, 20 Jun 2004 (UTC)

List of television personalities who have been awarded the Order of the British Empire[edit]

I saw you edited the OBE page so maybe you can help me. I started an incomplete list; I've only listed seven people who received the award via their ties to Coronation Street, and surely this isn't sufficient. Can you help with names and dates? TheCustomOfLife 01:15, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

That many? Wow.

I've changed the category to television personalities; hopefully that narrows it somewhat. I am not pure British so I only know a few British shows that I watch with my grandmother (who is half-British). TheCustomOfLife 01:38, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

It's not vandalism[edit]

But it's not a wise move either. The Dred Scott decision is rarely, if ever, referred to as Scott v. Sanford. While people looking for the decision formerly known as the Dred Scott decision will get there all the same, why go out of your way to change it to the name that fewer people use?

On the other hand, thanks for changing Sanford to Sandford.

Italo Svevo

More on the titles of Supreme Court cases[edit]

You're right and you're wrong. Courts, official reporters and lawyers commonly use only the surname of an individual party named in the caption of a case when referring to appellate decisions. There are, of course, some exceptions, such as cases with Chinese-surnamed plaintiffs, e.g., Yick Wo v. Hopkins, or those few cases, such as the Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36, 16 Wall. 36, 21 L.Ed. 394 (1873), in which the names of the parties have dropped out altogether.

The Dred Scott decision is another exception. For whatever reason, whether it was Scott's status as a slave, or his African heritage, or the instant notoriety that the case attracted, or the poignancy of his first name, the case has been referred to as Dred Scott v. Sandford for more than a century.

A quick Google search using Scott v. Sandford will confirm this. When you finally do get to a site on the second page that refers to it as Scott v. Sandford [a site devoted to "common sense Americanism" that tries to make the case that this decision is not as bad as more recent "social reengineering" decisions of the Supreme Court], it begins by explaining that Scott v. Sandford "is the well-known Dred Scott decision." Scott v. Sandford simply does not convey enough information.

The original name of this entry has, in fact, been the accepted way of referring to this decision for the last 125 years. Justice Souter referred to it as "Dred Scott v. Sanford" in his concurring opinion in Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 117 S.Ct. 2258, 138 L.Ed.2d 772 (1997), as did Justice Scalia in his dissent in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 112 S.Ct. 2791, 120 L.Ed.2d 674 (1992). Going back much further, Justice Field referred to it simply as "the Dred Scott decision" in the Slaughter-House Cases, as did Justice Harlan in his famous dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S.Ct. 1138, 41 L.Ed. 256 (1896). That is enough to establish that the proper name of this case is Dred Scott v, Sandford.

And even if Scott v. Sandford were technically correct, it simply sounds wrong. Please restore the Dred to the name of the entry and I promise that I will do my best not to use "Your Grace" when I should say "Your Excellency."

Italo Svevo