As I have said many times, I'm translating some wordy document, and here is another sentence that need shedding some light on:

Thus the first case cited by the Court in Schwinn for the proposition that "restraints upon alienation . . . are beyond the power of the manufacturer to impose upon its vendees and . . . are violations of 1 of the Sherman Act," was this Court's seminal decision holding a series of resale-price-maintenance agreements per se illegal (Source:https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/433/433.US.36.76-15.html, at the paragraph 48, line 4-5, please check it out for the context)

Is it just me or this sentence is really saying that "the first case" is a "seminal decision"? if so, what does "case" mean here? (I mean, how can a "case" be a "decision"). And if not, please tell me the main structure of the whole sentence, and which are the subordinate clauses.

Thank you.

  • One Google hit for "that needs shedding some light on". Two + one repeat for "that needs some light shedding on it". Commented May 4, 2014 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


It is at worst a venial shorthand to speak of the decision as "being" the case, since generally the only part of the case the justices take notice of is the description of the case in the decision.

As for the structure:

The case 
    WHICH CASE?: the first cited by the Court*
                           CITED IN WHICH CASE? in Schwinn (1967)
                           CITED WHY? for the proposition &c
was this Court's* seminal decision
                          DECISION TO WHAT EFFECT? holding &c 
                          DECISION IN WHAT CASE? Dr. Miles (1911) 

* meaning not the current bench but SCOTUS as an institution.

  • excuse me, but what do you mean by "as an institution", because this word seems to have several meanings that fits the context. Commented May 5, 2014 at 7:26
  • @ThienToanNguyen I mean that those two uses of Court refer to earlier holdings by the Supreme Court, not the current decision. Commented May 5, 2014 at 10:19
  • of course I understand that part of your wording, but I don't get what you use "as an institution" for, are you suggesting that it's a practice, a custom. Commented May 5, 2014 at 12:18
  • @ThienToanNguyen No: I mean that the Court is an institution which endures over time; so when Mr. Justice White speaks of this Court he means the institution, not the currently constituted Court. Commented May 5, 2014 at 12:49

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