It is with a heavy heart that this Bitter writer must announce that Law Firm 10 has
admitted herself into a psychiatric assessment and rehabilitation program taken a well-deserved Bitter Sabbatical. She will hopefully be discharged in time to start posting again return to Bitter Lawyer on September 5, 2012.
In the meantime, let’s do a Top 10! Here are some of the funniest judicial quotes out there. (Did I miss some? Please enlighten us in the comments section.)
10. Dragnet Roberts
North Philly, May 4, 2001. Officer Sean Devlin, Narcotics Strike Force, was working the morning shift. Undercover surveillance. The neighborhood? Tough as a three dollar steak. Devlin knew. Five years on the beat, nine months with the Strike Force. He’d made fifteen, twenty drug busts in the neighborhood.
- Chief Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court, dissent from a denial of certiorari in a case about probable cause
9. Eminem’s Protégé
Any reasonable person could clearly see /
That the lyrics could only be hyperbole
It is therefore this Court’s ultimate position /
That Eminem is entitled to summary disposition
- Judge Deborah Servitto of Michigan, in an order dismissing a lawsuit against Eminem. More here.
8. The Book of the Byrds
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;” a time to purchase fertilizer, and a time to take a deduction for that which is purchased.
- Judge Goldberg in Schenk v. Commissioner, 686 F.2d 315 (5th Cir. 1982), a case about fertilizer and tax deductions
7. Duck in a Truck
The defendant herein is a truck,
The vehicle is a pick-up,
Alleged by a fed
To be found in a bed
Of marijuana, caught in the muck.
- District Judge Wangelin in United States v. One 1976 Ford F-150 Pickup, 599 F. Supp. 818 (E.D. Mo. 1984)
6. The Oldest Pancake
In a big family the first child is kind of like the first pancake. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay, there are a lot more coming along.
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
From the perspective of a person in the position of plaintiff herein, a very practical problem arises with respect to the discovery of a paranormal phenomenon: “Who you gonna’ call?”
- Stambovsky v. Ackley, 169 A.D.2d 254 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991)
4. Judicial Spanking #1
Manifestly, any person with even a correspondence-course level understanding of federal practice and procedure would recognize that Defendant’s Motion is patently insipid, ludicrous and utterly and unequivocally without any merit whatsoever…. Defendant’s obnoxiously ancient, boilerplate, inane Motion is emphatically DENIED. Moreover, Defendant’s present counsel-of-record, Mr. [redacted] is determined to be disqualified for cause from this action for submitting this asinine tripe.
- Labor Force, Inc. v. Jacintoport Corp. et al.
3. Rules of Interpretation
What is a moderate interpretation of the text? Halfway between what it really means and what you’d like it to mean?
- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
2. Posner’s Pigs
Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in briefs.
- Justice Posner, United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991)
1. Judicial Spanking #2
The entire opinion for Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp. Here’s an excerpt: “Before proceeding further, the Court notes that this case involves two extremely likable lawyers, who have together delivered some of the most amateurish pleadings ever to cross the hallowed causeway into Galveston, an effort which leads the Court to surmise but one plausible explanation. Both attorneys have obviously entered into a secret pact – complete with hats, handshakes, and cryptic words – to draft their pleadings entirely in crayon on the back sides of gravy-stained paper place mats, in the hope that the Court would be so charmed by their child-like efforts that their utter dearth of legal authorities in their briefing would go unnoticed.
- Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp, 147 F.Supp.2d 668
Epilogue: United States District Judge Samuel B. Kent, who authored the scathing opinion in Bradshaw v. Unity Marine Corp, was later accused of sexually assaulting two women on his staff. He pled guilty to one count of obstruction of justice in a plea bargain with prosecutors and was sentenced to almost three years in prison.
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