Monday, October 01, 2012
I first this joke when I was clerking so many years ago, but I was reminded it of it just this morning.
A law professor, a federal appellate judge, and a federal trial judge go duck hunting. Under state law, they are only permitted to shoot ducks at this time of year, so they obviously must be sure that anything they shoot is a duck.
A group of birds flies overhead, making noise. The appellate judge stands up and says, "I conclude that those are ducks. I know those from applying the six-part, eight-factor test established in Goose v. Duck," which he then explains in great detail. By the time he has finished his explanation, the ducks have flown out of range. He sits down.
A few minutes later, a second group of birds flies overhead. The law professor stands up and says "I conclude that those are ducks. But the test of Goose v. Duck is ridiculous, because it is biased against historically oppressed species, ignores principles of rational efficiency, ignores the insights of animal behavioral economics, and departs from Kantian ethics." The professor continues to explain this all in great detail. By the time he has finished, the ducks have flown out of range. He sits down.
A few minutes later, a third group of birds flies overhead. The trial judge stands up, squeezes off three rounds and blows three birds out of the sky. He turns to his friends and says"Boy, I hope those were ducks."
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I was expecting the trial judge to say something like, "Based on the recently reaffirmed precedent of Goose v. Duck, I've concluded that these were ducks" and completely ignore the professor's reasoning on Goose v. Duck.
Posted by: Charles Paul Hoffman | Oct 1, 2012 2:06:43 PM
Meanwhile, a lawyer for an administrative agency wanders up, sees a fourth flock of birds, blasts some of them out of the sky, and says "I see substantial evidence that those are ducks." The appellate judge says "Good enough for me, and finishes off the rest."
Posted by: Katie | Oct 1, 2012 2:39:30 PM
Charles - love it! Too true.
Posted by: Anon | Oct 1, 2012 3:13:44 PM
A few minutes later, a biglaw partner sees birds flying above, pulls out an AK-47, and obliderates the entire flock, afterwards exclaiming "my client told me they were ducks!" In-house counsel for the client refuses payment, noting that a junior associate first spotted the birds.
Posted by: GU | Oct 2, 2012 12:26:09 AM
Actually, if my judge is any indicator, it would go more like this:
Judge: Are those geese or ducks?
Clerk: Well judge, I'm confused. So many factors, pointing so many different ways.
Judge: Well, are they honking or quacking?
Clerk: Quacking, I think.
Judge: That's what I thought. BLAM! Now fit that into the Goose v. Duck analysis.
Posted by: District court clerk | Oct 2, 2012 8:24:42 AM
Very funny, all, thanks!
Posted by: Douglas Levene | Oct 2, 2012 9:24:49 AM
When they return to their truck, they run into the In-House Lawyer, whose truck is already full of a pile of dead birds. They overhear him on the phone, "I know it's Friday at 4:30 p.m. but I need a memo by Monday morning that says these things were ducks."
Posted by: submitted 8/15 | Oct 2, 2012 12:23:21 PM
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