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Can you explain to me what "sustained on" means in the following sentence please and I'd like to ask if the sentence " Out of this legislation arose a test case brought by the ACLU" is grammatically correct?

For me it would have sounded better if it was written as : "Out of this legislation, a test case (was) arose by ACLU"

And I am confused if ACLU was plaintiff or not but the following sentence says "mainstream Christian and Jewish denominations" were plaintiffs.

It supposed to be ACLU who first opened the case legally in order to strike down or revoke the law requiring equal treatment of 'creation science'.

In 1981, Alabama passed a law requiring equal treatment of 'creation science' and evolution science. Out of this legislation arose a test case brought by the ACLU. Joining it as plaintiffs were several mainstream Christian and Jewish denominations.

The 'creation science' law was struck down and the plaintiffs were sustained on all counts. Most notable was the judge's ruling that 'creation science' was nothing more nor less than a particular religious doctrine. 'Creationists' lost their case against mainstream religion!

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You're parsing the sentence slightly incorrectly. It's not "sustained on"; rather, the plaintiffs were sustained. How were they sustained? On all counts. "Sustained" is a legal term that means, roughly, "found to be correct". I'm not sure if the writer is using it 100% correctly here, but the meaning is understandable. "On all counts" means "regarding every single issue in the court case".

Yes, "Out of this legislation arose a test case brought by the ACLU" is grammatically correct. To arise means to start or originate or come into being. One thing arises from another or arises out of another thing. It is slightly more common to say arise from, but arise out of is acceptable too. I think you understand the meaning, but we don't say "arise by". The case arose, and it was brought by the ACLU, but it didn't arise by the ACLU.

And yes, all of the groups were plaintiffs. A plaintiff is someone who brings a legal action against another person. The paragraph says the case was brought by the ACLU, so they were the plaintiff, or a plaintiff. Joining it as plaintiffs were several mainstream Christian and Jewish denominations means that those groups were also plaintiffs; they joined in being plaintiffs.

  • Thanks for your very informative answer.Can we say " ACLU rose the case out of the legislation"? – Mrt Feb 19 '16 at 15:56
  • No, because you can't say "The ACLU rose it". That's wrong for two reasons: firstly, it would mean that the ACLU was rising, not the case. Secondly, to rise or to arise is not a transitive verb; you can rise, but you can't rise something else. You could say "The ACLU brought the case because of the legislation" or "The ACLU was inspired to bring the case by the legislation", though. – stangdon Feb 19 '16 at 16:11
  • Thank you again. I wrote " ACLU opened the case"..Does it sound correct to say "open a case against someone" to mean "The ACLU brought the case against someone" – Mrt Feb 19 '16 at 16:17
  • "The ACLU opened the case" is grammatically correct, but "opened" is not what people usually say about a lawsuit. Brought or filed would be better. – stangdon Feb 19 '16 at 19:59
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    Just to add that "Out of this legislation arose a test case brought by the ACLU" exhibits inversion of the subject "a test case brought by the ACLU" and the verb "arose". In everyday English, we only invert these for questions or exclamations, but in a more formal literate style the pattern of <adverb or adverbial phrase> <verb> <subject> is quite common, especially if the subject is long and complex. – Colin Fine Feb 19 '16 at 20:18

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