Friday, April 5, 2013

Word of the Month for April 2013: Prerogative

You don't have to be female to speak like a womanIf you have a wife, girlfriend, mistress, boss, bossy friend, bossy boss, micro-manager, macro-manager, or even a psycho ex, you've heard it.  You can't avoid it.  In fact, everybody's heard it at some point in their life from someone.  It's called wife-speak (although it's not exclusively used by females).  While it is not a new dialect, it does take some getting used to.  Heck, I've been married well over the national average now and I'm still getting used to it.  Following are some simple (if not confusing) examples of wife-speak:

Wifespeak all the time
While I suspect there are number of wives out there who will want to contest this, the point I'm trying to get at is the word for this month which is: PREROGATIVE.  Women use it all the time to get what they want.  Heck, Bobby Brown sang a about it to show the world he's in control (ironic, as it was because if you know anything about Mr. Brown, his life is a seeming near-constant vortex of confusion).  Anyway, according to Black's Law Dictionary, Prerogative is an exclusive right, power privilege, or immunity, usually acquired by virtue of office.  Actually, this explains a lot.  I mean, you meet a girl (or significant other).  At what point do they start trying to change you?  First date?  Second date?  When they move in?  Married?  They don't call it a woman's prerogative, for nothing.

In a legal setting, prerogative is often referred to as "discretion."  Specifically, we're talking about judicial discretion - or how far can a judge go before he cross the line between what is or what is not abusive.  For instance, say you're arguing a case in front of a judge and he makes a ruling that you don't really like.  Did he abuse his discretion or was it a legal ruling.  That's called discretion (aka prerogative).  A couple of great resources that can help you get a better grasp of how discretion works include California Judicial Handbook (West) and Corpus Juris Secundum (West); look under "Judges" section 151.

So there you have it - I've offended several different classes of people in the world, appeased the Bobby Brown fans, and uncovered yet another legal "secret."  Not bad for 15 minutes of writing.  Now, go forth and conquer and you have a great rest of the month!

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