From a Transcript I Just Read,

in a case brought by a fellow law professor.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

THE COURT: [T]he deposition transcript is long, I think. I would suggest to plaintiff that he answer the questions directly; and then, shut up.

[PLAINTIFF'S COUNSEL]: He is a professor, your Honor.

THE COURT: That may be part of the problem.

NEXT: The Article II Executive Power and the Rule of Law (Part V)

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  1. Eugene Volokh’s self-deprecating humor by proxy is appreciated.

  2. Walter Mondale: When I was vice president every time I told a joke everyone laughed. When I stopped being vice president, I stopped being funny.

    Also known as “the Scalia disease.”

    1. Are you aware of how unfunny that particular jab was? Scalia was still pretty witty. For example when he was public speaking, the audience responded, and they didn’t work for him. See this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXSGDXbc9ZA&list=PLePFYhrY12xO5NmEWux9Ib6ncW__AEBhH, when he was speaking about how being a textualist was being compared to being a cannibal, at minute 15:44.

      1. “For example when he was public speaking, the audience responded, and they didn’t work for him.”

        Same with Mondale. I saw Reagan give a speech once, starting off with a series of remarkably lame jokes, and the crowd roared. Scalia was more often smug than funny, and telling jokes at the expense of attorneys arguing a case before you is seriously self-indulgent. You know you won’t be hearing a come-back.

        1. Isn’t it like that for all stand-up comedy, that is, not hearing a come-back? Hecklers are rare.

          Look, I’m not saying that he was a laugh riot, nor that he didn’t do that power position stuff, but you’re going to far by making him seem not funny when he was, by all accounts, quite witty.

  3. “Part” of the problem? Methinks the judge is underestimating the impact.

  4. I was the witness on the stand in 2002, in a jury trial in federal court in Los Angeles, before the late Hon. Manuel Leal, when the following ensued:

    Q: Now, in two sentences or less, can you explain what it was that [Parties A, B, C & D] were saying that brought [Party E] into the courthouse.
    THE COURT: No lawyer can stop at two sentences, Mr. [Lawyer-name].
    MR. [Lawyer-name]: I’m trying, though.
    THE WITNESS [me]: I’ll be as brief as I can, and I appreciate the court’s indulgence in not limiting me to two.

    Thereby proving once again that the best objections are the ones the judge makes for you.

    1. Yikes — Judge Real, not Leal. Mea culpa.

      1. you made that “mistake” so that you could get in an extra sentence.

  5. Years ago, in trial before a highly respected Judge, witness on the stand:

    “Counsel approach the bench” (bench conference). Judge: “this witness has way too much education, return to the trial table.”

    Same case, closing argument: Plaintiff’s counsel, “Defendant’s counsel is a hired gun.” Defendant’s counsel, “objection and move to strike.” (bench conference) Defendant’s counsel, “your honor there is no evidence of a weapon in this case” Judge, “members of the Jury disregard the reference to counsel as a hired gun.”

  6. Ironic that this appears just before Professor John Harrison’s “Part 5 of Article II Execute Power” tome in the email summary. Just sayin’ …

  7. I always enjoy a good courtroom zinger, but I’ve never come across anything to match FE Smith.

    FE Smith – explains some complicated point of law

    Judge : “Thank you for your explanation, Mr Smith, but I’m afraid I’m none the wiser”

    FE Smith “No my Lord, but better informed”

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