Back in April, I wrote a couple of posts (here and here) that critiqued the use of unnecessarily fancy words by Judge Fernandez in a couple of his opinions, including fossicked, bosk, daedalian, banausic, and recrudescent (for the last of these words, ten different times!).
Now listen to this sentence from the last page of his concurring opinion in this case: "I do not intend this opinion to be an elogium; I do not say that Irwin's behavior deserves encomiums, but, whatever its failings, the evidence does not require the conclusion that he is a rapscallion."
This is the exactly type of sentence that a high school student would pen if he mindlessly hit his computer's thesaurus button three times after writing: "I do not intend this opinion to be a compliment; I do not say that Irwin's behavior deserves praise, but, whatever its failings, the evidence does not require the conclusion that he is a criminal [or rouge, or outlaw, or rascal, or reprobate, or scoundrel, or sleazeball, or any of a dozen other synonyms]."
My belief is that twenty-cent words typically detract from, rather than add to, an opinion. Hopefully Judge Fernandez will learn this soon enough.