2

Source: Powell v Alabama (1932)

In the light of the facts outlined in the forepart of this opinion -- the ignorance and illiteracy of the defendants, their youth, the circumstances of public hostility, the imprisonment and the close surveillance of the defendants by the military forces, the fact that their friends and families were all in other states and communication with them necessarily difficult, and, above all, that they stood in deadly peril of their lives -- we think the failure of the trial court to give them reasonable time and opportunity to secure counsel was a clear denial of due process.

But passing that, and assuming their inability, even if opportunity had been given, to employ counsel, as the trial court evidently did assume, we are of opinion that, under the circumstances just stated, the necessity of counsel was so vital and imperative that the failure of the trial court to make an effective appointment of counsel was likewise a denial of due process within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

9. [no object] Forgo one’s turn in a game or an offered opportunity to do or have something:

Is the bolded a conjunction? Is it used correctly and stylistically? Is the above the right definition for pass?

  • 3
    Perhaps it's a dialectal way of saying, Despite all of that. or Regardless of the circumstances just mentioned. – Joe Dark Dec 3 '14 at 10:41
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    It means "leaving that aside (for now)", as when you pass something along the side if the road. Forgetting about it (at least temporarily). – Dan Bron Dec 3 '14 at 11:30
  • Compare with the construction "failing that": "Education for the official examinations is the best means to such careers, but, failing that, anything that will help the family survive honorably is acceptable." In "failing that", we imagine some condition unfulfilled. In "passing that", we propose the reader to put some information/argument aside for a time. – CowperKettle Dec 3 '14 at 11:58
  • This usage seems to be an opposite of "stipulating that". – Jasper Jan 13 '15 at 5:13
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The phrase 'passing that' refers to the first assertion that there has been a denial of due process. The speaker is then pointing out a second, and arguably more serious, denial of due process.

Therefore the phrase 'passing that' has a double meaning: 'to put that aside' (whilst we look at the second denial of due process) and 'surpassing that' because the second assertion is supposed to be worse that the first.

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I think it means either 'allow to pass, accept' or 'surpassing, going beyond' or 'overlooking, ignoring, passing over'. :-)

Accepting that, even if the defendants had had ample opportunity to secure counsel (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary), the fact that they had not secured counsel was in and of itself, their opportunity notwithstanding, a denial of due process. The Court should have appointed counsel.

Surpassing that, even if we accept that the defendants had had ample opportunity to secure counsel (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary), the fact that they had not secured counsel was in and of itself, their opportunity notwithstanding, a denial of due process. The Court should have appointed counsel.c

Passing over the question whether the defendants had had ample opportunity to secure counsel (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary), the fact that they had not secured counsel was in and of itself, their opportunity notwithstanding, a denial of due process. The Court should have appointed counsel.

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