The Scalia Report, Vol. 1
In honor of the great Justice Scalia, whose savage wit was often on display in many of the opinions he wrote and who was known to have once lamented that all federal judges should be given a stamp that read “stupid but constitutional,” I am introducing a new monthly column for my blog called “The Scalia Report,” which shall highlight clever and yes, usually sarcastic, but also effective and instructive quotes from First Amendment cases.
For the inaugural quote, I offer a passage from Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs of the Second Circuit, from a concurring opinion that he wrote in Husain v. Springer, 494 F.3d 108, 136 (2d Cir. 2007), a case where a student newspaper was complaining about being censored:
“I concede that this short opinion of mine does not consider or take into account the majority opinion. So I should disclose at the outset that I have not read it. I suppose this is unusual, so I explain why.
The majority has fulfilled its responsibility to explain at some length its vacatur of a part of the district court’s judgment. But this is not a case that should occupy the mind of a person who has anything consequential to do….With due respect to my colleagues in the majority, and to whatever compulsion they feel to expend substantial energies on this case, I fear that the majority opinion (44 pages of typescript) will only feed the plaintiffs’ fantasy of oppression: that plutocrats are trying to stifle an upsurge of Pol-Potism on Staten Island. Contrary to the impression created by the majority’s lengthy formal opinion, this case is not a cause célèbre; it is a slow-motion tantrum by children spending their graduate years trying to humiliate the school that conferred on them a costly education from which they evidently derived small benefit.”
I want to be that judge!