Breyer, Scalia, and Clement Go Trolling South of the Border

January 9th, 2013

From argument in Maracich v. Spears.

JUSTICE BREYER: I want it south of that, and now you will tell me the words I can use that will both help your client because they will cover this case, but will also be south of that.

JUSTICE SCALIA: What is south? I don’t have a compass here. (Laughter.)

JUSTICE BREYER: South means — south means it does not — you can’t just go and troll for clients simply because you think a defendant has done something wrong, and you have no client.

MR. CLEMENT: If you want to draw the line south of the trolling line, then I think what you would say is this is an easy case because no communication took place until my clients had a client.

And later, Justice Scalia returned to the border.

JUSTICE KAGAN: But your line –

­ JUSTICE SCALIA: They’re north of that line, right?


As does Justice Breyer.

JUSTICE BREYER: Why don’t you give us the line that’s north. North of trolling.

On twitter, I posed a suggestion to Jay Wexler, the resident SCOTUS Laughter expert. I think a new category should be created for Laughter-Assist. Very often Justice Breyer will set up for a joke, and Justice Scalia will swoop in and steal it. SGB should not be left without credit. Maybe a laughter is worth two points, and an assist is worth one? This could work.