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The Funniest Justice, week 10: Extra time for laughter

When Paul Clement, the attorney for the respondent in the case American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, wrapped up his oral argument Wednesday, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. told him: “We’ll afford you some rebuttal time.”

Puzzled, the Clement looked at the chief justice and slowly took his seat. Roberts, realizing his mistake – only the petitioner’s attorney gets rebuttal time – corrected himself: “Oh, no we won’t!”

As the justices and onlookers laughed, Justice Antonin G. Scalia jumped in.

“You should have said, ‘I accept,’ very quickly,” Scalia said to Clement, drawing more laughter.

Scalia found himself in the familiar spot of being the week’s Funniest Justice, making the crowd laugh seven times during arguments this week. But Justice Stephen G. Breyer is still making a contest of it, drawing six laughs to stay within striking distance of his colleague. Here are the current standings:

Justice Antonin G. Scalia: 34

Justice Stephen G. Breyer: 30

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.: 9

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: 6

Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor: 5

Justice Elena Kagan: 5

Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr.: 2

Justice Clarence Thomas: 1

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 0

 

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