Congress Removes Word 'Lunatic' From Federal Law

It's outdated and offensive, say advocates of the move

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Dec 5, 2012 4:35 PM CST

(Newser) – You can say "lunatic" all you want, but you probably won't have the government's blessing. The word "lunatic" will be stricken from federal law under legislation that passed the House today and is headed to President Obama for his signature. "The term `lunatic' holds a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our US code," said Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., shortly before the 398-1 vote in the House. The word is derived from the Latin word from moon and ancient beliefs that people could become "moonstruck" by lunar movements.

The legislation cites one instance in banking regulation that refers to the authority of a bank to act as "committee of estates of lunatics" on guardianship issues. The lone "no" vote was cast by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who said in a statement that "not only should we not eliminate the word `lunatic' from federal law when the most pressing issue of the day is saving our country from bankruptcy, we should use the word to describe the people who want to continue with business as usual in Washington."

You won't find 'lunatic' in federal law anymore.
You won't find 'lunatic' in federal law anymore.   (Shutterstock)
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