Capitalize Supreme Courts?


If you are talking about multiple supreme courts, should you capitalize it?


For example should it be: "Texas and California supreme courts" or Texas and California Supreme Courts? 

asked Nov 03 '12 at 19:38 Jack New member

3 answers


I'm inclined to capitalize them, too.  However, the names of those courts are the Supreme Court of Texas and the Supreme Court of California.  When we use the correct name for those courts, that changes it to the S/supreme C/courts of Texas and California.  Writing it this way changes my inclination; I would likely not capitalize. When we write about supreme courts in general, there is no capitalization.  Writing about two of them at once seems to be in a gray area of the rules.  Perhaps this is one of those things that comes down to what the style guide says. (Where's Jeff?)

link comment answered Nov 04 '12 at 00:10 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Where's Jeff -- college football game. Chicago Manual of Style discusses implied proper names. Thinks of it this way, we capitalize a person's nickname even if it is not their proper name. The nickname is an implied substitute for the full name. Thus we capitalize Supreme Court when, by the context, we know we are talking about the Supreme Court of California.


When talking about two states together, it is indeed a gray area. My feeling is that it depends upon the context. If the context make it very specific -- the opinions of the Texas and California Supreme Courts -- I would capitalize. If the context suggests that you are making a more general reference -- say in  paragraph that includes references to many different courts -- I would leave lowercase.


I know of nothing that supports my opinion -- or contradicts it. Take it for what it's worth.

link comment answered Nov 04 '12 at 01:23 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

I would capitalize them. They are proper nouns separately, so they should be capilized together.

link comment answered Nov 03 '12 at 22:03 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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