The Funniest Justice, week 6: Scalia’s scared

scaliafunnyWednesday’s Supreme Court oral arguments over whether pregnancy leave taken before the enactment of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 must be counted towards pension credit, attorney carter Phillips argued that ruling otherwise would be like denying blacks seniority credit for work they did before Title VII became law.

“You mean there are a lot more suits coming behind this one for any kind of discrimination that preceded Title VII?” Justice Antonin Scalia asked, seeming concerned. “When was Title VII enacted?”

“1964,” Phillips answered.

“There may be still some of those people around?” Scalia asked.

“There are.” Phillips said.

“You’re scaring me,” Scalia said, drawing a laugh from the crowd.

If Scalia isn’t truly scared of claims of decades-old Title VII misdeeds, perhaps he should be afraid of losing his long-held status as the Funniest Justice.

For the second week in a row, that distinction has gone to Justice Stephen Breyer, who this week garnered four laughs to Scalia’s two. Breyer has now passed the often comical Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. to take the #2 spot on out funny list, and is only a scant eight laughs away from dethroning Scalia as the funniest justice so far this term.

Here are the laugh standings so for this term, based on Court transcripts:

Justice Antonin Scalia: 27

Justice Stephen Breyer: 19

Chief Justice John Roberts: 18

Justice David Souter: 9

Justice Anthony Kennedy: 9

Justice John Paul Stevens: 6

Justice Samuel Alito: 2

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 1

Justice Clarence Thomas: 0 (Thomas hasn’t made a remark during oral arguments since Feb. 22, 2006).

Meanwhile, you can find more on the PDA case, AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen, here from Lawyers USA

More on other oral arguments from this week:

Arizona v. Johnson – more here from Lawyers USA.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal – more here from The Los Angeles Times.

Cone v. Bell – more here from the Associated Press.

Transcripts from arguments in Pacific Bell Telephone v. LinkLine Communications and Peake v. Sanders can be found on the Supreme Court’s website.


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