Toward the end of attorney Ted Olson’s oral argument time today in the case Citizens United v. FEC, Justice John Paul Sevens asked Olson if he would spend some of his upcoming rebuttal time to address a point made in an amicus brief.
“I will, Justice Stevens,” Olson replied, preparing to sit down.
“Why don’t you just tell us now?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said, as members of the audience laughed.
“Don’t keep us in suspense!” Justice Antonin Scalia added, drawing more laughter.
Although the October 2009 Term of the Supreme Court doesn’t officially begin until, well, October, today’s re-argued campaign finance case gives us an early start on this term’s contest to see who is The Funniest Justice!
Who said an issue like campaign finance reform can’t be fodder for funnies? Not only did Olson himself and Solicitor General Elena Kagan draw some laughs, so did four of the Court’s justices. But it was Roberts who drew two laughs from the crowd today, giving him an early lead in the contest which, for two years in a row, has gone to Justice Scalia.
So here are the Funniest Justice standings after the Court’s first oral argument:
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: 2
Justice John Paul Stevens: 1
Justice Antonin Scalia: 1
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 1
Justice Clarence Thomas (Note: Thomas has remained silent during oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006): 0
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 0
Justice Stephen Breyer: 0
Justice Samuel Alito: 0
Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 0