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Related to Desuetude: desuetudo


The state of being unused; legally, the doctrine by which a law or treaty is rendered obsolete because of disuse. The concept encompasses situations in which a court refuses to enforce an unused law even if the law has not been repealed.

Desuetude saw use as a defense during the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which dealt with Texas' Sodomy law. Lawrence successfully argued that since statutes prohibiting sodomy had either fallen into obscurity or been overturned in most states, Texas' statute was similarly invalid.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

DESUETUDE. This term is applied to laws which have become obsolete. (q.v.)

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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References in periodicals archive ?
This proposal would in effect create a narrow doctrine of "desuetude," under which substantive laws would lose force (at least retrospectively) by virtue of longstanding overt nonenforcement.
In many instances, searching did turn up earlier sources, ranging from a single match (a phenomenon known as a Googlewhack, though the term has faded into desuetude) to dozens of citations.
Years of neglect and desuetude had turned it into a railway graveyard.
Piva expose de facon precise comment, a travers un systeme elabore de citations et d'autocitations, l'auteur ne cesse en effet de reecrire les textes, de revisiter les motifs, et tout son art reside dans ce que Piva appelle une "hybridation de l'ecriture chateaubriandienne" qui, a la maniere d'une mosaique, reconstruit, reinvente et replace dans un contexte contemporain des figures en possible voie de desuetude. Ainsi, en meme temps qu'un enchanteur, Piva, tout au long de son travail archeologique, revele comment Chateaubriand est aussi un re-enchanteur qui ne cesse de reactiver les enonces de ses illustres ou inconnus predecesseurs, voire meme ses propres textes.
Desuetude is an ancient and unconventional legal doctrine that empowers courts to suspend the operation of a statute after a long period of intentional governmental nonenforcement and notorious public disregard for it.
Overby's finest, most exploratory work was not on view--the abject, collapsed soft reliefs of the early 1970s, which resulted from latex being troweled upon structural elements in desuetude: houses, walls, and the like.
Les bonnes moralites tombent, pour eux, en desuetude. Demodees, les formules de politesse et les regles de bienseance sont remplacees par des comportements autant pragmatiques que grossiers.
He said: "If Sir Gerry had fingers he would put two of them up to a few people!" There was drama just after the start when Ahmed Ajtebi crashed to the floor, having been dislodged from Godolphin's Desuetude on leaving the stalls.
For the first time, one saw the imposition of rules dial had, in the premodern Muslim world, deliberately slipped into desuetude. The increased scope of the nation state and the politics of authenticity, together with the process of codification, led to a situation in which laws have been more harshly applied and women disproportionately subject to prosecution and punishment.
Words like "transgressive" and "challenging" had just begun their bizarre mutation into terms of critical commendation, while traditional epithets such as "beautiful" "technically accomplished;' even "true" were drifting into desuetude. What the historian Elie Kedourie called "The Chatham House Version"--that amalgam of smugness, moral relativism, and cherished feelings of guilt about the achievements of Western civilization-everywhere nurtured the catechism of established opinion.