« Rachlinski from Cornell to Cornell | Main | The Same Sex Marriage Fight in California ... and a Sign Off »

Monday, June 30, 2008

Writing a Tune

I was pleased to see in Adam Liptak’s Week in Review piece, The Chief Justice, Dylan and the Disappearing Double Negative (based on an article by Alex Long at the University of Tennessee), that Bruce Springsteen ranks as the third most-cited rocker in judicial opinions. However, I can’t help but think that, even coming in at number three, the Boss is being underutilized in the judicial lexicon. To help matters along, I offer the following suggestions for incorporating Springsteen lyrics into decisions going forward (and welcome to the suggestions of other Springsteen fans out there):

For suits alleging corruption in home lending practices:
“Welcome to the new world order
Families sleepin’ in their cars in the Southwest
No home no job no peace no rest.”
-The Ghost of Tom Joad, the ghost of Tom Joad

For suits challenging the issuance of permits to new coal-fired plants:
“From the Monongahela valley
To the Mesabi iron range
To the coal mines of Appalachia
The story’s always the same
Seven hundred tons of metal a day
Now sir you tell me the world’s changed”
-The Ghost of Tom Joad, Youngstown

For the immigration judge:
“They left their homes and family
Their father said ‘My sons one thing you will learn
For everything the north gives it exacts a price in
-The Ghost of Tom Joad, Sinaloa Cowboys

For the criminal case:
“Your fingerprints on file
Left clumsily at the scene”
-Magic, Your Own Worst Enemy

For assessing redressability:
“‘Ain’t nobody can give nobody
What they really need anyway.’”
-The Ghost of Tom Joad, Dry Lightning

For assessing whether a claim is ripe:
“We´re livin´ in the future
And none of this has happened yet”
-Magic, Livin’ in the Future

For sentencing after a murder conviction:
“Nothin’ taken nothin’ stolen
Somebody killin’ just to kill”
-The Ghost of Tom Joad, The New Timer

For police shooting cases:
“Better ask questions
Before you shoot”
-The Rising, Lonesome Day

For the mediator:
“The time has come
To let the past
Be history
Yeah, if we could
Just start talkin’
Don’t know when
This chance might
Come again”
-The Rising, Let’s Be Friends

For the family law judge:
“Love leaves nothing’ but shadows and vapor
We go on, as is our sad nature”
-Devils & Dust, All the Way Home

For the bankruptcy judge:
“In the end what you don’t surrender
Well the world just strips away”
-Human Touch, Human Touch

For a bankruptcy reorganization:
“Everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back”
-Greatest Hits, Atlantic City

For FCC cases:
“Fifty-seven channels and nothin’ on
Fifty-seven channels and nothin’. . . “
-Human Touch, 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)


“This is radio nowhere”
-Magic, Radio Nowhere

For any case applying a balancing test:
“Well you may think the world’s black and white
And you’re dirty or you’re clean
You better watch out that you don’t slip
Through them spaces in between”
-Human Touch, Cross My Heart


“And what once seemed black and white turns to so many shades
Of gray”
-Greatest Hits, Blood Brothers

For the perjury trial:
“Once you cross you’re heart
You ain’t ever supposed to lie”
-Human Touch, Cross My Heart

For assigning successor liability:
“’Before you choose your wish son
You better think first
‘Cause with every wish there comes a curse’”
-Human Touch, With Every Wish

With this last very important post, I’ll sign off . . . with the Boss’ help of course.

“A breeze crosses the porch
Bicycle spokes spin ´round
Jacket´s on, I´m out the door”
-Magic, Girls in Their Summer Clothes

Posted by Katrina Kuh on June 30, 2008 at 11:36 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Writing a Tune:


The authoritative citation for Atlantic City would be Nebraska, not Greatest Hits.

Posted by: bossfan | Jul 7, 2008 9:32:05 AM

For any Bivens claim:
"See that flag flying over the court house, it means certain things are set in stone. Who we are, what we'll do, and what we won't"
Long Walk Home, Magic

Any claim relating to false advertising:
"Trust none of what you hear
And less of what you see"
Magic, Magic

What the Court of Arbitration for Sport could have said in Oscar Pistorius's appeal:
"Baby, we were born to run."

Posted by: Thurston Webb | Jul 3, 2008 5:38:27 PM

Outstanding post!

Posted by: Dan Markel | Jul 2, 2008 9:12:01 AM

For the ADR arbitrator:

"Remember, in the end, nobody wins unless everybody wins."
- Intro to Born to Run video (1986).

Posted by: andy | Jun 30, 2008 12:47:03 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.