A split antecedent, wrapped around its anaphor

From Linda Greenhouse’s op-ed piece in today’s NYT, “Just Answer the Question”, about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan:

I thought it was preposterous, and so did the court [SCOTUS, in 2009], to claim that the man who had successfully brought the case had lost his right to dispute. [as did the court would be a possible alternative to and so did the court]

The anaphor is the so did in the inverted VP so did the court ‘the court did too’. Its antecedent is the VP thought it was preposterous to claim that …, half of which (thought it was preposterous) precedes so did the court, half of which (to claim that …) follows it, making the anaphor sort-of (strictly) anaphoric and sort-of cataphoric. The unsplit version would be

I thought it was preposterous to claim that …, and so did the court.

though reordering the court’s opinion and Greenhouse’s opinion would also be possible:

The court thought it was preposterous to claim that …, and I did too / and I thought so too / and so did I / as did I.

These last versions are truth-functionally equivalent to the first two, but because of the ordering differences they aren’t discourse-functionally equivalent. I’m not sure why Greenhouse chose the version she did, from among the choices starting with her opinion and then alluding to the court’s opinion. Maybe she wanted to bring her reference to the court’s opinion up as close as possible to her expression of her opinion. (Or, of course, maybe an editor re-framed what she originally wrote.)

In any case, I have no examples of this sort of split antedent in my files, though I didn’t object to the version as printed.

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