I learned many wonderful lessons from the judge for whom I clerked. One of those was to avoid using the word “clearly” when making legal arguments. “Clearly,” the judge insisted, is a crutch word lawyers tend to use when the answer is far from clear (e.g., “my client clearly deserves to win under this test”). The judge would regularly excise the word clearly from his law clerks’ drafts, and he even instructed us to keep count of the “clearlies” used in oral argument. (The record the year I clerked was something like 20.) While the judge’s anti-clearly stance struck me as eccentric at the time, I now think he was on to something.
Chief Justice Roberts, it seems, is also an anti-clearlyist. (Or is it anti-clearlyan?)