At one point during Tuesday’s oral arguments in Carlsbad Technology v. HIF Bio, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked about the Court’s 1995 case Things Remembered, Inc. v. Petrarca.
“I looked again at Things Remembered, and it turned out to be just as I remembered it,” she said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
That was one of two laughs that the normally serious Ginsburg earned this week in her much anticipated return to the bench after cancer surgery, showing that her sense of humor is also healthy.
Meanwhile, the race for the title The Funniest Justice has tightened again this week, as quips by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Justice Stephen Breyer brought them a little bit closer to possibly overtaking Justice Antonin Scalia, who usually runs away with the title. (To be fair, Scalia’s normally booming baritone voice seemed quieter – and a bit hoarse – this week. Perhaps a cold is affecting his funny bone?)
Here are the laugh standings after nine weeks of oral arguments:
Justice Antonin Scalia: 30
Justice Stephen Breyer: 24
Chief Justice John Roberts: 23
Justice David Souter: 10
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 9
Justice John Paul Stevens: 7
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 3
Justice Samuel Alito: 2
Justice Clarence Thomas: 0 (Thomas hasn’t made a remark during oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006).