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Constitutional FAQ Answer #112

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Q112. "If titles of nobility are prohibited by the constitution, why then does the U.S. Supreme Court bestow the title of 'honorable' to the judges that at seated there? For that matter, why do we refer to any Judge as 'your honor'?"

A. This question is best answered by realizing exactly what a title of nobility is. So, go check the entry under "Title of Nobility" in the glossary first. Then, read the following, an edited version of a comment made by a frequenter of the message boards here:

The Supreme Court has no authority to grant any title. The terms "honorable" and "your honor" are not titles of nobility, and are not limited to judges. Some mayors are also referred to this way, as are other officeholders. (It does vary among localities.) These are mere honorifics used only while the individual holds the office, and sometimes are not used (if at all) outside of the individual's formal functions of that office.

With a title of nobility, a person retains the title for his lifetime, is referred to in all social situations by the title, and passes the title on to heirs. The title and privilege extend to all situations and it (along with the system of nobility and royalty) is an integral part of the society.

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