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Fun from the courts

As a result of writing the trial sequence, I'm getting more interested in what actually goes on in the courtroom. So I enjoyed this report from The Volokh Conspiracy, unfortunately not well-sourced:

A small community in California passed a local ordinance prohibiting fortune telling within its city limits. A fortuneteller named Fatima Stevens brought a lawsuit seeking an injunction against enforcement of the ordinance... our Supreme Court granted a hearing.

As counsel for the fortuneteller rose for oral argument to present her case, Chief Justice Lucas said, "Counsel, you have us at a disadvantage."

The attorney was perplexed. "Why, Your Honor?"

"Well," said the Chief Justice, "hasn't your client told you how this case will ultimately turn out?"

On its face this was an irrelevant joke; but it was, intentionally or not, sending a subtle message that fortune-telling is indeed bunk, and that even the lawyer can't be taking it seriously -- something that would have dovetailed well with the city's arguments that fortune-telling is fraudulent and should be banned. Dangerous stuff for the lawyer. Here's how Mosk describes the lawyer's artful dodge:

[...] "No, Your Honor," he replied. "You must remember I did not consult my client for advice. She consulted me."

A judicial interchange worthy of Fafnir and Isolde Shieldbiter, methinks. Volokh reports that the fortune-teller won, by the way.


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