So in case you guys haven’t noticed, I’m a HUGE supreme court junkie. I love the SCOTUS. Some of my favorite things to read about are the personalities or real-life stories of the justices. Ginsburg is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever read about (see her wikipedia page for proof, girl is fierce). Justice Thomas is bewildering. Kennedy is a character as well. Learning about what makes each of them really tick helps you understand their arguments and where they’re coming from in their decisions. It’s fascinating. I’m about 2/3 through reading “The Nine” (hw keeps getting in the way) and “Making Our Democracy Work” (thanks Raquel) is on deck for my post-grad reading pleasure.

I stumbled upon this articles in the NY Times last week and thought it was hilarious! It measures the “funniness” of the justices! A BU professor examined a few seasons of arguments and quantified the humor of each justice. Laughing episode credited to each of the justices were counted and he came up with some interesting conclusions:

Scalia is the funniest (no surprise there)

Thomas was the least funny (as he NEVER speaks in oral arguments, no one is really surprised at this)

The professor that complied this research, Jay D. Wexler of BU Law, admits that there are some drawbacks to his method of calculation. The notation of [laughter] in oral argument transcripts does not distinguish between a simple chuckle or a raucous bout of laughter. It also doesn’t separate nervous, anxious laughs from a genuine laughter crack-up.

Similarly, it doesn’t take account of a justices attendance to laugh ratio. Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Ginsburg’s poor attendance at arguments means they had/have fewer opportunities to cause laughter than the others. Despite her stiff appearance, I imagine Ginny would be very good company (she’s my favorite justice, duh).

Check out the rest of the article here!


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