There is a long comment thread regarding Selya’s use of big words at Concurring Opinions.
Let me try and summarize:
- His use of obscure phrases is good because it shows personality, and gives new life to dead words. (Of course, this raises the question: Would people be having such a love-fest over him, if he used vulgarities to describe the government, victims of crime, defendants, or ERISA plan administrators, and attached pornography to the end of every opinion? After all, these things show “personality,” too.)
- He might just be bored.
- He has his clerks look for obscure words and pick up his dry-cleaning.
- His use of obscure words renders his opinions incomprehensible. (Orin Kerr talks about Selya places an undue burden on students here).
- Selya assured people at a lunch for educated folk that he doesn’t use big words to get attention.