Skip to comments.My Reverse-Cyrano Moment Wooing the Supreme Court (P.J. O'Rourke)
Posted on 03/30/2014 2:49:16 PM PDT by smoothsailing
Mom is finally proud! I filed a brief in a Supreme Court casea Brief of Amici Curiae in a case contesting an Ohio law against knowingly or recklessly lying about a political candidate or ballot initiative. (Let me add, as a native Ohioan, that every Ohio political candidate has escaped from a lunatic asylum and all Ohio ballot initiatives are the work of Satan.)
As I was saying, I filed a brief of Amici Curiae. And never mind that, as far as I recall from my D+ in high school Latin, amici curiae means affably disease-free. I know I filed a brief because it was in the New York Times.
On March 25th Adam Liptak wrote, P. J. ORourke has filed a funny supporting brief in a Supreme Court case This was accompanied by a photo of me taken seven or eight years ago, which made my nose look big, but I do appear youthful. See, Mom, Im taking care of myself too.
Mr. Liptak, carefully checking reliable sources by not calling me, prefaced his story by noting, The Supreme Court gives lawyers who argue before it a little guidebook. One tip: Attempts at humor usually fall flat. (Ditto in the NYT, Mr. L., if you dont mind my saying so.) Mom, fortunately, is past the point of asking Funny ha-ha or funny odd?
The brief is hilarious, and please do not tell my mother I didnt write it. What I did was sign it. The brief was written by scholars at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, where I hold the position of Mencken Research Fellow (unpaid and worth it). Cato did not ask me to write their brief for the same reason that you do not ask me to perform your appendectomy.
Okay, Ill need a knife, and and a spoon? Better wash my hands first. And I have to have whiskey because alcohol is both an antiseptic and an anesthetic. Give some to the patient. Ill take a nip myself. Etc.
Ilya Shapiro, with a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at Cato and editor-in-chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review. He often files amicus briefs, especially in cases where constitutionally guaranteed rights are imperiled. But these briefs are serious in tone even though Ilya is funny in person.
Hes also self-effacing, saying, There are people who know more about Constitutional law than I do, and there are people who are funnier than I am, but I do occupy the very small area of overlap in that Venn diagram.
The Venn diagram seemed like the only proper approach to a law that would make you a criminal in Ohio for saying that Buckeye president William Howard Taft was so fat his wife had to grease the doorframe and tell him there was a banana cream pie in the Blue Room to get him into the White House.
The fight-a-laugh-with-a-laugh brief was Cato Legal Associate Gabriel Latners idea. He wrote the first draft. Cato Research Fellow Trevor Burrus added research. And more jokes. Then Ilya Shapiro took over. I was asked to read it and give it my endorsement because I am an expert on being run out of Ohio. Ask my mother.
Politico posted a condensed version of the brief, and I shared the byline with Ilya. On the Above the Law blog David Lat called it the Best Amicus Brief Ever. (Albeit thats a low barnotice how I casually toss in legal jokes now that Im arguing a case before the Supreme Court.) And a lawyer friend of mine congratulated me on what he said was the first legal brief in history to go viral.
Herewith a sample (and good stuff even if I do say so my not-self):
In modern times, truthinessa truth asserted from the gut or because it feels right, without regard to evidence or logicis also a key part of political discourse
After all, where would we be without the knowledge that Democrats are pinko-communist flag-burners who want to tax churches and use the money to fund abortions so they can use the fetal stem cells to create pot-smoking lesbian ATF agents who will steal all the guns and invite the U.N. to take over America?
Voters have to decide whether wed be better off electing Republicans, those hateful, assault-weapon-wielding maniacs who believe that George Washington and Jesus Christ incorporated the nation after a Gettysburg reenactment and that the only thing wrong with the death penalty is that it isnt administered quickly enough to secular humanist professors of Chicano studies.
(Go here to read the rest.) (Direct PDF link)
Unfortunately the above seems to be in accord with Ohio law as it currently stands. Also unfortunately, if the Cato brief has been influenced by any non-lawyer humorist, its Stephen Colbert. But Im not going to put other people to the bother of taking credit. Politics is show business for the ugly and therefore Im in the entertainment industry. And you dont let other people take credit in the entertainment industry. Its just not done.
I mean, what kind of play would Cyrano de Bergerac be if Christian turned out to be full of spontaneous romantic eloquence while courting Roxane in Act IV? And, Roxy, the person hiding in the shadows under your balconythats just some guy with nothing to say whos got a big nose.
Read the amicus brief. It’s full of hits, even to the Supreme Court itself:
“15 Driehaus voted for Obamacare, which the Susan B. Anthony List said was the equivalent of voting for taxpayer- funded abortion. Amici are unsure how true the allegation is given that the healthcare law seems to change daily, but it certainly isnt as truthy as calling a mandate a tax.”
Glad you read it. That’s why I included a direct link. (Not in the original article)
P.J. O’Rourke ping.
I would suggest political campaigns must be conducted under oath. This compels politicians to keep mind of their promises and statements or be criminally prosecuted for untruths.
I would add a clause requiring any politician who votes for anything subsequently found unconstitutional to be immediately impeached.
These legal standards would only apply to politicians and all of the people would be exempt. This should be the only exemption to any law ever passed.
Make it retroactive and we could clean up that DC swamp in no time!
A significant improvement to a simple idea!
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So everyone who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act is now out?