The revolt of the court reporters


Court reportersWhether it’s an earthshaking Supreme Court argument or an insignificant 30-second calendar call,  a court proceeding is as a tree falling in an empty forest unless there’s a court reporter writing it down.  And if the reporter doesn’t like the cut of your jib,  she’ll produce transcripts doing horrible things to your name and omitting little words like “not,” putting you on record as saying things like, “Your Honor, my client does deserve the maximum sentence.”

Any doubt that the entire legal system is completely at the mercy of court reporters has been laid to rest by a Manhattan scribe who according to the NY Post  is accused of typing over and over, “I hate my job, I hate my job,” and hitting random keys instead of providing verbatim transcriptions of the Shakespearean wit and wisdom of the trial proceedings.

Despite being arrested and tortured by the DA’s Office, this Dadaist rebel has held firm.  “I did my job 100 percent,” he told the Post.

Can the Revolution be far behind?


Posted in Criminal law, Humor, Law & Parody, Satirical cartoons | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

The Justice Scalia Show


Scalia dancingJustice Scalia, lead singer of the Originalists, played to a packed house at the Brooklyn Academy of Music the other night, wowing the audience with the tunes that catapulted him to fame, “Gimme that Old Time Constitution,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But the Text, Baby,”  “I Don’t Want Your Emanations and Penumbras,” and his new hit, “Stupid but Constitutional.”

The Originalists, in case you missed the last episode of The Federalist Papers, believe that the only criterion for interpreting the Constitution is what it meant to the people who voted for it in 1791. It’s either that or chaos, warns Pope Nino. Once you stray from the Path of Originalism you’re condemned to the hellfire of Personal Policy Preferences where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Scalia’s road show always includes a straight man feeding him cues to demonstrate that in Originalism there is no east or west.  This one featured a dodgy-looking television judge prompting, “Didn’t you uphold flag burning as protected First Amendment speech?” referring to Scalia’s signing on with the majority in Texas v. Johnson. “If I were king, I would have jailed that bearded weirdo,” Scalia chuckled. “Wearing sandals!” he added in mock horror.

A veteran trouper, Scalia easily fielded heckling from right and left, tossing out snappy comebacks like, “I said I’d take questions, I didn’t  say I’d give answers.” He brought down the house (heavily laced with students from our alma mater the Acme School of Law & Refrigerator Repair) with, “I don’t read footnotes.” We never did either, which is why we graduated number 398 out of 400.

Our personal favorite was when he wrapped up a long answer with, “I’m not sure that was your question, but I wanted to make that point.” We’re saving that for our next oral argument.

But what’s he like at home, you ask? Here’s a typical evening with the Scalias.

Scene: Justice and Mrs. Scalia and their nine children, each named after a Supreme Court Justice, setting the table for dinner. Scalia is wearing an apron the children gave him for Founding Fathers Day saying “Stupid but Constitutional.” Mrs. Scalia wears a matching apron saying, “I’m with Stupid.”

Scalia: Cardozo, honey, did you churn the butter?

Cardozo: No, Daddy. I found out you can buy it ready-churned at the store. In a convenient plastic tub.

Scalia: What! That’s not what they meant by butter in 1791!

Harlan: But Dad, butter has gradually evolved since then.

Scalia: (reading the label) “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” Well, I certainly can. Get this abomination off the table at once! What qualifies you nine kids to decide what is and isn’t butter?

Burger: (a 1L at Holy Crown of Thorns Law School)  It’s substantially butter. It’s been duly processed.

Scalia: Rubbish! Everything is either substance or process, it can’t be both.

O’Connor: (the baby) I like this better. Not so full of yukky cow hair.

Rehnquist: (the middle daughter) And so much more convenient than having to spend hours churning!

Scalia: (tearing at the remains of his hair) Substituting yellow-tinted crankcase oil for butter because it’s more convenient is like eliminating the Sixth Amendment because it would be faster to execute people without the right to call witnesses and a jury trial! Not that I’m against the death penalty, mind you, that’s a no-brainer, since it existed in 1791.

Mrs. Scalia: Who wants to go out for Chinese dinner? (all concur)

Scalia: The American people have spoken.








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“I may be a lawyer but I think like a criminal”

Very cool lawyer ad:

Endorsements from satisfied clients at work.

Posted in Criminal law, Humor, Law, Law & Parody | 2 Comments

The First Department takes a stand

Sedan chair

It’s a well known fact that Appellate Division judges are carried to court in sedan chairs.  So it’s not surprising that the First Department threw a fit at having the courthouse entrance cluttered up with a Citibank bike station, the NY Post reports.

citibank bikes

According to the Post, the First Department put down its rubber stamps long enough to thunder, “In this particular debate, the court is on the side of good, truth and justice. This is about desecration!”  The Post is shocked, shocked that the judges had only to make a few phone calls to fend off the Blue Bike Blight from their territory, when community groups, churchgoers and even the Plaza Hotel have had no such luck.

Let’s face it, Citibank bikes are just another weapon in the ongoing war on pedestrians.  As Winston Churchill said, we fight them in the streets, we fight them in the parks, we fight them on the sidewalks.  Nuts to their sustainable-transport propaganda.  None of those people plowing you down on Broadway would otherwise be driving a car.

But we’re tickled pink that the court has discovered good, truth and justice.  We’ll remind them next time we meet.

Hat tip to Alex.

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Judge Wool’s refrigerator magnet decision writing kit

Available for $12.98 from the Appellate Division Gift Shop.  A portion of every sale will be donated to the Judicial Literacy Project.

Magnetic judicial writing1

Magnetic judicial writing2

Magnetic judicial writing3

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Don’t forget your bus ticket in the Bronx

YouTube video of cops beating up a guy in the Bronx.  Two cops haul him off the bus and hold him while he searches his pockets for his ticket. When he finds it and indignantly shows it, they don’t let him go but continue to manhandle him. Four more cops join in, they wrestle him face down to the ground and handcuff him.  With five cops on top of him, another cop kicks him. And that’s what they do if you have your ticket.

Posted in Civil Liberties | Tagged | 1 Comment

Valentine’s day card from Capital One

From our friendly Union Plus credit card company. We especially look forward to their “personal visits” “at any time” with “any frequency.” If this is what they send people who pay their bills, imagine what they send to deadbeats! Cardholder agreement

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