Home / Antonin Scalia / The Funniest Justice, week 2: The arm’s-length joke

The Funniest Justice, week 2: The arm’s-length joke

During oral arguments Wednesday in the case considering whether strips searches of individuals jailed on minor offenses violates the Fourth Amendment, attorney Carter Phillips was asked how close prison officials get to the inmates.

“It almost certainly would have been about an arm’s length, because [the jail officials are] handing them clothes to change into,” Phillips said. “It is sort of hard to be longer than arm’s length and actually get the clothes into his hand.”

“Two arms’ lengths,” corrected Justice Antonin Scalia. “I mean, [the inmate] could reach out, right?”

And with that laugh, Scalia moves into a tie with the chief justice in our weekly Funniest Justice tally. Here are the standings after week 2:

Chief Justice John G Roberts: 3

Justice Antonin Scalia: 3

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

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