Let me bury the lede for a second to let you know a narrative. Way back, in a magical realm known as Academe, professors grew clever to the previous scholar tips of futzing with each margins and textual content spacing to make their essays match a prescribed web page restrict. Triple spacing and two-inch margins may now not prevent from the results of a debauched night spent ingesting on Franklin Avenue when you need to have been within the library studying “Aurora Leigh” as an alternative.
However for a number of shining years, professors did not mandate font selections—they usually would not deploy the Pink Pen of Disgrace except you headlined your takedown of Barthes’ S/Z in, say, Comedian Sans.
As somebody intent on being a Severe Author™, I felt it my responsibility to write down papers that will absolutely showcase my genius. Papers that may, within the strictest sense, exceed the given web page depend. And once I was actually wordsmithing the hell out of my evaluation of the courtroom sermons of Lancelot Andrewes, it was all the time Garamond that got here to my rescue.
Ah, Garamond—the way you saved me from doing the laborious, boring, needed work of enhancing! The way you squeezed these further paragraphs again onto web page 5 as an alternative of letting them lie there, bloated and obscene, atop the forbidden web page six! The way you provided that electrical tingle of sophistication as I averted the plebian, pedestrian, pathetic use of Occasions New Roman!
Properly. Apparently I used to be not the one one who performed this recreation. My professors bought bored with studying papers that have been longer than desired. They started mandating (O ye gods!) 12-point Occasions New Roman, double-spaced, with one-inch margins—otherwise you’d get a giant fats zero.
Quick-forward to this week, when the DC Circuit Courtroom of Appeals got here to the identical realization that legal professionals use Garamond to cram greater than is strictly allowed into their authorized briefs. Federal Rule of Appellate Process 32(a)(5) says solely that “a proportionally spaced face should embrace serifs” and should “be 14-point or bigger.” However the guidelines do not say what proportional fonts can be utilized in authorized filings.
As lawyer John Elwood pointed out on Twitter, “Garamond is extra compact than most fonts. For many appellate filings, its use will shave a number of pages off a quick. For that motive, it is lengthy been a final resort for page-limited filings.”
As a smaller font, it is also simply tougher to learn on the identical measurement as fonts like Occasions New Roman. And the courtroom has had nearly sufficient of it.
“The courtroom has decided that sure typefaces, equivalent to Century and Occasions New Roman, are extra legible than others, significantly Garamond, which seems smaller than the opposite two typefaces,” the DC Circuit introduced this week. The courtroom, it stated, needs to “discourage use of Garamond.”
This led to the bizarre prospect of authorized media working a number of items about font alternative this week as legal professionals argued over the deserves of Baskerville and Gill Sans.
The DC Circuit’s animus in opposition to Garamond has not but unfold to the broader appellate system. Typeface insurance policies within the Fifth and Third Circuits are, basically, simply the usual Federal Guidelines of Process. However now that judges in an influential appellate circuit have proven their pro-Occasions New Roman bias, WILL GARAMOND TOO BECOME A VICTIM OF CANCEL CULTURE?