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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Supreme Court of Comedy

Over at the Yale Law Journal's Pocket Part, Prof. Jay Wexler (BU) has a study of which Justice instigates the most laughter at the Supreme Court (h/t Con-Op). As I suspected, the study, which is now in its second iteration and which tracks how things have changed with the arrival of Alito and Roberts and the departure of Rehnquist and O'Connor, is subject to its own dynamic effects. Specifically, Wexler's first study noted that the court reporter who created the transcripts for SCOTUS didn't differentiate between the robustness of laughter following a comment by a particular Justice. Now, the reporter makes clear whether there's "a little laughter" or "some laughter."  We should be on the lookout for future fine-tuning. As Wexler notes:

"What’s next? “(Knee-slapping guffaws)”? “(Some peeing in pants)”?"

For those of you wondering, the funniest three Justices, in order, are Scalia, Breyer, and Roberts.

Posted by Administrators on November 20, 2007 at 02:57 PM in Constitutional thoughts | Permalink


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If I were arguing before the Supreme Court, I must confess I would laugh at any joke by any of the justices, however lame. So measuring laughs received will be roughly equal to the number of attempted jokes made, but won't measure whether judges actually said anything worthy of laughter.

Posted by: Joe Don | Nov 21, 2007 10:13:14 AM

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