The Return of April Fools' LawProf Blog Posts

Is it safe to joke again?


In year's past, I wrote April Fools' posts. Some were more convincing than others. However, during the Trump presidency, I stopped. Parody blurred with reality. And I worried that people may not realize I was joking.

But with Trump out of office, is it safe to joke again? I considered writing one for this year: House Republicans were drafting articles of impeachment against former President Obama. Believe it? Plausible.

Today, I noticed that at least two professors wrote clever April Fools' jokes.

Mike Dorf wrote a post titled Testiness at the First Annual Conference on Originalismism.

Yesterday I "attended" and moderated a panel at a fascinating Zoom-based conference hosted by the three law schools with the closest connection to originalism in constitutional interpretation: Georgetown Law Center, the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, and the University of San Diego School of Law. Because the focus of the conference was the study of originalism rather than originalism itself, the conference was titled "Launching Originalismism."As co-conveners Professors Randy Barnett, Michael Rappaport, and Ilya Somin wrote on the conference homepage:

For many years, constitutional scholars debated whether to give dispositive weight to the Constitution's original meaning. That debate is over. Originalism won. The question has now shifted to how to do so, which is a question about the boundaries of originalism. This first-of-its-kind conference brings together originalist scholars of all stripes, as well as a few stubborn holdouts, to begin the study of originalism itself–in an effort to understand originalism. If originalism is the view that the Constitution's original public meaning was and remains fixed, our topic today is meta: We ask questions that are not within but about originalism. In so doing, we declare ourselves engaged in originalismism.

For a moment, I thought, "Why was I not invited to speak at this conference?" Then I chuckled. Read the entire post. Stay for the Mitch McConnell turtle reference at the end.

And Rick Hasen has an all-too-accurate post on election law timing: "Election Litigation That Doesn't Come Too Early Comes Too Late."

A divided Supreme Court ruled today that there is no right time to file a case contending that an election law unconstitutionally violates the right to vote protected by the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause.

On a 6-3 vote, the Court in an unsigned (per curiam) opinion explained that lawsuits protecting voting rights cannot be filed well before the election, because in those cases the claims are "unripe" and plaintiffs lack standing due to the speculative nature of such claims. But claims cannot be filed too close to the election, under what has come to be known as the "Purcell Principle," because changes in election laws close to the election risk confusion of voters and election administrators.

A fairly accurate statement of current doctrine.

Thank you for the laughs.

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  1. I almost thought that the suit against ED-OCR was an April Fools until I saw news articles from a few days ago about it.

    BTW: ED is the US Dept of Education (it’s not DoE because Energy got that first), and OCR is their Office of Civil Rights, the regional offices of which correspond to the Federal circuits.

    Trannies in the female bathrooms at Bob Jones — *that* will be “interesting”…

  2. No bigger prank on the American people than the failed lawyer profession. It is not funny.

  3. Too early or too late
    – Goldilocks was unavailable for comment

  4. Biden won the election and is still President….

    What many thought was a cruel joke, but still seems to be going on…

  5. And I worried that people may not realize I was joking.

    Only on April Fools’ Day?

  6. I would add after the Purcell Principle: “And you cannot bring cases about election violations after the election if the side that is alleged to have cheated has rioters supporting them that year; because the Chief Justice will silently decline to hear the case rather than admit he has no guts, thus creating an explicit heckler’s veto.”

    *Which* side is committing an insurrection, again?

    1. A: The Republicans.

      That was easy.

  7. But doesn’t that leave open suing after the election?

    1. You can’t sue after the election because you were aware of the irregularities beforehand and your failure to sue constituted prejudicial delay.

  8. Think of all the things Trump actually said as President that would have made suitably bizarre, good April Fool jokes in 2015 if placed in Obama’s mouth.

    1. “You didn’t build that” comes to mind.

  9. It is good that they are having some fun. I am vexed that people complain when they are fooled by silly articles and make a case about how terrible it was. As a result too few have this kind of fun anymore. We all need to think more critically. Case in point, I read a great article this year about how they are banning draws in chess. Seemed reasonable but surprising, and I was momentarily spacing out, forgetting that it was April 1st. And then…
    “ To ensure that games do not continue indefinitely, a clause has been added asserting that after move 101, each player will take turns kicking each other in the shin once per move until a player pleads for “mercy” or falls out of their chair. ”
    I started to catch on.

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