The court in the 1991 case referred to the FWS's interpretation of the term "traditional" as "strained" (line 46) bec...

shafieiava on December 7, 2019

“Common Definitions”

I am a bit confused as to what is referred to as common definitions in answer choice C. I thought a common definition of traditional would just mean something that has been practiced in the past. It seems like the passage is arguing for a more particular definition of common as something that occurs at least once in the past. Thus, I am confused on how answer choice C is correct given that it refers to a common definition.

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Skylar on December 8, 2019

@shafieiava, maybe I can help!

Answer choice (C) states that the interpretation "was inconsistent with what the term 'traditional' is normally understood to mean."

You are correct to be wary of using outside assumptions to try to determine what terms mean. For example, in this case we cannot come up with our own common definition of common.

However, we can safely deduce that the interpretation in question does not match the common definition or "what the term 'traditional' is normally understood to mean" because the passage specifically points this out in lines 54-57. It reads, "It defies common sense to define 'traditional' in such a way that only those traditions that were exercised during a comparatively short period in history could qualify as 'traditional.'"

So, though the passage may not explicitly tell us what the common definition of "traditional" is, it does explicitly tell us that the court's interpretation does not meet match that definition. They key phrase here is "defies common sense."

Does that make sense? Please reach out with any other questions and best of luck with your studies! on October 12 at 07:49PM

Wh not D? I had eliminated all except C and D and choose D

Emil-Kunkin on October 13 at 12:44AM

I think that D is the opposite of what we are looking for. In the passage, the issue with how the FWS interpreted the term is that it was too narrow. That is, a tradition doesn't just have to be something within living memory, but the fws artificially narrowed its definition to mean that. So, the fws actually did the opposite of D, it interpreted tradition to exclude things that should have been included, rather than wrongly including things.