Breyer Barbs Nino About Looking To Statute’s Purpose and Laughs about the “Absurd Examples That Are Lurking in the Back of My Mind.”

October 1st, 2012

From oral argument in  11-626. Lozman v. Riviera Beach, Justice Breyer, who was talking about the purpose of a house-boat had this to say:

So what we think of is that practical capability means that there must — this must really have as a function, as one of its functions — I would like to say purpose, but some people apparently don’t like that -­ (Laughter.) JUSTICE BREYER: — because it – it has some other implication that I don’t understand. Okay.

Ahem, Justice Scalia.

But this laughter is even funnier:

JUSTICE BREYER: Okay. How do you then distinguish — I see where you’re — you’re just saying my distinction is not going to work, and so then I would ask you to say what one you want to come up with that will get rid of all the absurd examples that are lurking in the back of my mind, which I will avoid — and yet include -­(Laughter.)

Justice Breyer, no one can come up with all of them. That’s why they are so (admittedly) absurd.

No laughter at all in Kiobel. A serious case!