Re: [LEAPSECS] what time is it, legally?

From: Rob Seaman <>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 12:34:02 -0700

On Dec 12, 2006, at 11:46 AM, Poul-Henning Kamp wrote:

> I think that the most and possibly only bit of relevance to
> contemporary issues in this legal summary is that time has to be
> available to people to legally bind them.

I agree that the precise issues differ today, but surely the
potential (and more than potential) legal timekeeping entanglements
are much more complex. Certainly the money riding on possible
timekeeping snafus is orders of magnitude greater. Split seconds can
represent fortunes on Wall Street.

> I interpret this as trying to trick somebody with the TAI-UTC
> difference would be a no-go with The Supremes.

Cases that rise to the level of the Supreme Court tend to focus on
ambiguities intrinsic in the interpretation of conflicting statutes
or gray areas in the Constitution. Rarely would mere "tricks" get
past a lower appellate court.

The natural distinction between TAI (interval time) and UTC (time-of-
day) is in danger of becoming obscured. One would expect this
increased ambiguity to generate more significant legal challenges,
not fewer.

Rob Seaman
Received on Tue Dec 12 2006 - 11:34:41 PST

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