He’s made cracks about bad dictionaries, deadpanned about deporting babies to China, and quipped that a justice’s job could at times violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
By making the audience and other justices of the Supreme Court laugh during oral arguments more than five dozen times, Justice Antonin G. Scalia sailed to an easy victory as this term’s Funniest Justice. Since DC Dicta began keeping count, Scalia is undefeated.
So the real race was for second place. And though Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. made a real contest of it, it was Justice Stephen G. Breyer who walked away with the silver this term, with Roberts coming in third.
According to the laugh count, as noted in the Court’s official transcripts, every justice earned at least one laugh this term except Justice Clarence Thomas, who hasn’t made a comment during oral arguments – humorous or otherwise – since Feb. 22, 2006. Let’s just hope that when he does speak, we’ll get a chuckle out of it.
Here is the final tally:
Justice Antonin Scalia: 63
Justice Stephen Breyer: 47
Chief Justice John G. Roberts: 26
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 11
Justice Elena Kagan: 7
Justice Samuel Alito: 5
Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 2
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1
Justice Clarence Thomas: 0