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It's outdated and offensive, say advocates of the move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
You won't find 'lunatic' in federal law anymore.   (Shutterstock)

(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."

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 41 comments
Brazilian_Silver
Dec 6, 2012 1:36 PM CST
' "The term `lunatic' holds a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our US code," said Rep. Bobby Scott. . .' Yet somehow it is still rational for law to be based on " the word of God." Fking backwards crazy world, just about everyone around here man. Not a half ounce of common sense per square mile most of the time. I pick up other people's garbage everyday (not because I'm a custodian or waste management employee, just because I'm a pissed off man seeing people's crap EVERYWHERE), I listen to people blatantly have conversations in public that should be discreet. I witness rude behavior, lack of consideration, and an overall obsession with personal fame. There's nothing wrong with the concept of fame, but rather how people desire fame without regard to their own honor or standards. It doesn't matter if you're conservative, liberal, any color of the rainbow, young, old, male or female. It doesn't matter if you've spent your life selling propane and propane accessories or writing atrocious love songs for pop radio. At least two thirds of the human population is completely useless, and that may or may not include me.
Cheshire
Dec 6, 2012 11:36 AM CST
Between this and the APs recent ban on "homophobia," it makes me wonder who the lunatics really are?
No-Left-Turn
Dec 6, 2012 8:16 AM CST
Why is Congress concerned with lunar tics? We haven't had anyone on the moon in decades and have no plans to send more.