The oral argument season is officially over, which means it’s time for a final laugh tally and the crowning of the October 2007 term’s Funniest Justice!
No drum roll needed here: As predicted, the winner by a long, long shot is the ever-amusing Justice Antonin Scalia.
By DC Dicta’s count (according to oral argument transcripts) Scalia drew a total of 74 laughs this term – more than 3 times the number of laughs the next funniest justice – Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. – received. He made the crowd laugh 18 times in the last two weeks alone.
Here is the final tally of the Court’s laugh-getters. In a related note, Justice Clarence Thomas managed for the second year in a row to avoid asking a question or making a single comment – much less cracking a joke – during oral arguments all term:
Justice Antonin Scalia: 74
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: 23
Justice Stephen Breyer: 21
Justice David Souter: 17
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 9
Justice John Paul Stevens: 7
Justice Samuel Alito, Jr.: 4
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 4
Justice Clarence Thomas: 0