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The Funniest Justice, week 1: Hail to the Chief comic

During oral arguments in the case Maples v. Thomas, attorney John C. Neiman, Jr., sought to explain why a state’s attorney sent a notice to a defendant – as opposed to his lawyer – that his time to file a petition for relief had expired.

“At that point in time, the State case was over,” Neiman siad. “So, it was hardly clear if [the prosecutor] was going to do something that he didn’t have to do under the rules.”

“Why did he do it, then?” asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts. “Just gloating that the fellow had lost?”

That remark earned the chief justice one of the three laughs he drew during this term’s first week of oral arguments, putting him in the lead of our first weekly tally of The Funniest Justice. The ever comedic Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer were right behind him with two laughs apiece, and Justice Elena Kagan also drew chuckles from the audience once.

Here are the week 1 standings:

Chief Justice John G Roberts: 3

Justice Antonin Scalia: 2

Justice Stephen Breyer: 2

Justice Elena Kagan: 1

Justice Anthony Kennedy: 0

Justice Clarence Thomas (the silent type): 0

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 0

Justice Samuel Alito: 0

Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 0

One comment

  1. Honestly, it’s sad that the “cult of personality” has come to this. The Chief’s real point was that the State was really over-the -top in this case (as Justice Alito not-so-funnily pointed out). Please don’t lose your substantive focus….

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