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retroactive - vocabulary

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips

adjective

Operative on, affecting, or having reference to past events, transactions, responsibilities; pertaining to a pay raise effective in the past.

In June, the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the documents underlying the warrantless surveillance program, and Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and ranking Republican Arlen Specter (Pa.) said they wanted to see those documents before endorsing any immunity clause. "I'm not going to buy a pig in a poke and commit to retroactive immunity when I don't know what went on" in the past, Specter said Tuesday on CNN's "Situation Room." "I agree with Arlen," Leahy said on the program.

—Jonathan Weisman and Ellen Nakashima “Senate and Bush Agree on Terms of Spying Bill” Washington Post, October 18, 2007

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