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July 13, 2005

20 Questions for a Magic Eight Ball Judge

I've seen it suggested elsewhere, by smarter people than me, that perhaps Dubya should nominate a Magic Eight Ball to fill Justice O'Connor's spot on the Supreme Court. It makes sense. The Eight Ball would be more predictable, given that the icosahedronal dice can only offer up to 20 possible answers, whereas Sandy Baby's random answers were infinitely variable. But what kind of answers might we expect from a Magic Eight Ball?

I decided to put some hot-button legal questions to my Magic Eight Ball, just to see how it would resolve some cases. This is the inaugural episode of my version of Howard Bashman's excellent 20 Questions for a Judge. The only difference here is that there is no legal authority permitting the Magic Eight Ball to sanction me and my clients if I ask truly impertinent questions. Here's the results of my scintillating Q&A session.


If you were to offer one comment to the, erm, prisoners of conscience held at Gitmo, regarding their court cases, what would it be?
# Outlook Good

What are the prospects of expanding the "federalism revolution" and trimming the reach of the regulatory state?
# Outlook Not So Good

Any chance of revisiting Roe v. Wade in my lifetime, and throwing the abortion debate back into the state legislatures, where "the people" actually have some say in it?
# My Reply Is No

Will the Court grant cert in a gay marriage case this fall?
#Don't Count On It

Will the Court nip away at the death penalty, say, by ruling old folks or some other random category of people out of bounds?
# You May Rely On It

Will the Court reconsider its decisions allowing partial birth abortion?
# Ask Again Later

In other words, you are going to tease social conservatives again with the possibility of overturning Roe, or at least Stenberg's partial birth decision, and then screw them at the last minute?
# Most Likely

But what is the long term effect of your short-sighted, politically-oriented judicial activism?
# Cannot Predict Now

As I suspected. So then, are you comfortable acting as a super-legislature, essentially writing new law from the bench?
# Yes

Are you aware that the public is getting really pissed, and that last month's Kelo decision has them ready to storm the Court?
# Yes Definitely

Um, do you have any defenses in place to prevent this, fixed gun emplacements, or some secret reaction force that's tougher than the geriatric marshalls now guarding the Court?
# Better Not Tell You Now

Hmmm... In a Steel Cage Free For All Death Match featuring all the Justices, would Justice Scalia kick everybody else's ass, then challenge Goldberg (the wrestler Goldberg, not Justice Arthur Goldberg; he's dead) to a comeback showdown match, at SuperSlam XXII?
# It Is Certain

Could Goldberg, or any of the candyasses now in pro wrestling, defeat Justice Scalia?
# Very Doubtful
# But the Iron Sheikh, now he could kick Scalia's ass, easily. So could Jimmy Superfly Snuka. And George the Animal Steele - he'd give Nino a run for his money.

[Okay, fine, the Magic Eight Ball didn't say that, I did. But I sensed it would answer this way, in the emanations of penumbras of the blue fluid in the ball. I figure that if the Court can just make shit up, so can I.]

Wow. Don't you think pro wrestling would destroy the last vestiges of the Court's reputation? I mean, Justice Ginsburg as a ring girl... [shudder!]. Or isn't there enough reputation left to make it worth preserving, and you'd rather just hustle the Benjamins?
# It Is Decidedly So

Last fall, the full implications of Apprendi became clear in a couple mandatory sentencing cases, resulting in the overturning of the federal sentencing scheme. What guidance would you offer to the U.S. Sentencing Commission in crafting new sentencing guidelines?
# Concentrate and Ask Again

Is Microsoft due to make another appearance in your court?
# Signs Point to Yes

Are you sure that you won't be trying to use Lawrence to sneak a gay marriage case past us in the fall?
# My Sources Say No

Aha, as I thought. Well then, do you intend to use all sorts of wacked out international law norms, ab-norms, and law review articles, to butcher the constitution and U.S. sovereignty this term?
# Without a Doubt

Did y'all smoke some chronic prior to issuing the decision in Raich, last Spring's medical marijuana case?
# Reply Hazy, Try Again

Figures. Do you believe there's a problem with judges acting subjectively in applying international law as a normative factor in constitutional interpretation?
# As I See It, Yes

Hmmm... well, QED. Thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions for us, Judge Magic Eight Ball.


Well, there you have it. Twenty Questions for a Magic Eight Ball Judge.

If you have ideas about another random or semi-random inanimate object that you'd like me to query for next month's Twenty Questions, please let me know.

But I have to warn you - no Ouija boards. Those things are totally fake, and the results would be, like, totally rigged.

Posted by Blackavar at July 13, 2005 10:49 PM | TrackBack
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Given Bush likely wants to appoint yet another submissive bastard stepchild of Scalia, the Magic 8-Ball's sounding better and better.

It's more intelligent and independent of mind than Clarence Thomas at least.

Hm...Scalia, Thomas, a new Scalia clone (Hispanic, so you can tell the three apart...) ... hey, only one more Horseman to go! Yay, apocalypse.

Posted by: Michael Jones at July 14, 2005 01:25 PM

You see?

Not only would the Magic Eight Ball be a great choice for the Supreme Court, it would have bipartisan support.

My only worry is that Justice Rehnquist will pass away, and weíll have to search for a second Supreme Court justice simultaneously.

Personally, Iíll be recommending the 10-sided die from the Dungeons & Dragons set that Iíve owned since childhood. Granted, the intellect of the 10-sided die is only half as wide-ranging as the 20-sided block in the Magic Eight Ball, but its cryptic answers, limited to the numerals one through ten, would provide just the kind of bright line rules conservatives are comfortable with.

And if by some chance we get an opportunity to appoint a third judge, well, thereís only one choice: A can of Spinach. Its paper trail may be limited, and it doesnít say much, but I hear that it makes you strong to the finich, and that has to be worth something in an era when the legal reasoning of this Court is so bloddy weak.

Posted by: Blackavar at July 14, 2005 02:13 PM

I thought the Magic 8-Ball was a dodecahedron.

Posted by: Eric Jablow at July 14, 2005 07:24 PM
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