During Wednesday’s oral arguments in the Supreme Court case Krupski v. Costa Crociere – a civil procedure case asking whether a plaintiff who named the wrong defendant, but should have known the right defendant, can amend the complaint to correct the “mistake” – Justice Stephen Breyer put a hypo to the defendant’s attorney, Robert Glazier.
“Have you ever driven a car where your wife has said turn left and you have turned right?” Justice Stephen Breyer asked, causing audience members to laugh. “Has that ever happened to you?”
“Yes,” said Glazier.
“Was there anything you didn’t know?” Breyer asked.
“There is nothing that you did not know,” Glazier responded.
“Correct,” Breyer continued. “Did you do it by mistake? Yes, of course, you did. It’s happened to every human being. There are millions of instances in which people do things by mistake where, in fact-”
Justice Antonin Scalia interrupted Breyer, saying: “I think your wife made a mistake. I don’t think you made a mistake.”
“No, my wife does not make mistakes,” Breyer said, drawing more laughs.
Those were two of a whopping six laughs Breyer drew this week – quite a feat considering there were only four cases argued before the Court – making him The Funniest Justice of the week. He beat out the ever funny Scalia, who scored four laughs. Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. drew two chuckles while Samuel Alito drew one.
There is only one week of oral arguments left this term. Stay tuned to see if Justice Clarence Thomas breaks his silence in order to crack a joke and make it on the board.
Here are the laugh standings going into the last week of OT09:
Justice Antonin Scalia: 70
Justice Stephen Breyer: 42
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: 25
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 8
Justice Samuel Alito: 5
Justice John Paul Stevens: 3
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1
Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 1
Justice Clarence Thomas: 0 (Oral argument silence since Feb. 22, 2006)