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The Funniest Justice, week 2: The goose, the gander and the giggle

During yesterday’s oral argument in Perdue v. Kenny A., Pratik A. Shah, assistant to the Solicitor General, argued that judges should only award attorney’s fee enhancements in extraordinary cases – like when the lawyer had to represent a very unpopular client.

“For extraordinary circumstances?” Justice Anthony Kennedy said. “What about a very, very popular cause and he wins and they are beating his door down? Can we reduce it for that?”

As the audience laughed, Shah continued.

“No, Your Honor, that would not require a reduction,” Shah said.

Justice Antonin Scalia leaned forward.

“Well, I mean, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,” he said, drawing laughter. “I mean, if you get rewarded for unpopularity, you ought to be get penalized for popularity.”

Scalia was the king of the one-liners this week, which earned him a whopping eight laughs during this holiday-shortened week at the Supreme Court, and boosted him back to the top of out ongoing tally.

Here is the laugh count:

Justice Antonin Scalia: 13

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.: 9

Justice Anthony Kennedy: 3

Justice Stephen Breyer: 3

Justice John Paul Stevens: 2

Justice Samuel Alito: 1

Justice Clarence Thomas (Thomas has remained silent during oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006): 0

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 0

Justice Sonia Sotomayor: 0

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