READ THAT BACK: Groovy Tunes, Outrage Tomatoes, & Posner Posner Posner!

While this was being written, the news of Martin Shkreli’s conviction broke. If the Court Reporter never sees the phrase “pharma bro” again, it will be entirely too soon. Honestly, people.

There’s a New World Coming: The U.S. Supreme Court recently revamped its website, just before announcing that it would launch an electronic filing system (subscription required). To hear court watchers tell it, it’s the start of a new age. E-filing! An RSS feed! The beginning of digitization! (Whatever that means…) Could it mean that the Court will become more transparent? Ironically, no one knows. Some aren’t sure it should. Maybe it will get more tie-dyed instead. The Court Reporter likes threes, so here, have another groovy tune.

You Say Tomato, I Say Weed: In 2011 James Wingo saw Robert Harte buying—SCANDAL—gardening supplies so he could grow—OUTRAGE—tomatoes. This, plus a couple of possibly falsified field tests for drugs, led to a SWAT-style assault on his home on 4/20 looking for marijuana which didn’t exist. What does exist, thanks to some pro bono help from Kirkland & Ellis, is Harte’s lawsuit against the Johnson County, Kansas sheriff’s office—which performed the raid—for unlawful search and seizure. (Unrelated: The Court Reporter is trademarking “Scandal gardening” and “Outrage tomatoes.”)

POSNER POSNER POSNER: Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner is known for being eclectic and outspoken. He has decided, for example, that legal opinions should be simple and nontechnical, and therefore has started writing them in a very straightforward way that doesn’t have subheadings or readily discernible structure and that makes them incredibly difficult to skim, the Court Reporter will have you know! They tend to have sentences like this gem, from an August 4 opinion: “Late one night in March 1996, three persons riding in a truck in southern Indiana were killed by gunshots and knives.” He also thinks that the quality of appellate attorneys matters less than trial ones (possible), that judges should retire at 80, (which, fine, maybe) and that there should be 19—yes, NINETEEN—Supreme Court justices. Which is an interesting number given that The Dark Tower opened this weekend (but ironically fell just short of 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes). And hmmm, “The Man in Black,” judges wear black robes…the Court Reporter can do this all day.


  • Will the decision that struck down D.C.’s “good reason” concealed carry law go to the Supreme Court? At least a few people (subscription required) appear to think it’s possible.
  • Last week we reported that lawsuits stemming from the Ferguson, Mo. shootings could go forward. So will cases stemming from protests of the shooting. Next week we’ll presumably learn about the fate of suits stemming from the protests of the protests stemming from the shooting.
  • Montgomery v. Louisiana ended life without parole for juvenile offenders. But what about life with “parole”? Some are trying to expand Montgomery’s reach.

And Now…From The Court Reporter, With Love: Fandom can be like a lawsuit. You have a common interest and a disagreement about it, and the outcome often turns on what evidence you can bring to bear. In fandom, evidence is canon, and the line between non-canonical and canonical-but-bad can be a tricky and contested one. And so it is between Mary Johnson and two movie studios selling a boxed set of James Bond DVDs and Blu-Rays. The box said “all,” but didn’t contain the two non-canonical films made by a different production company than the main line—1967’s “Casino Royale” (the first one, which the Court Reporter saw part of once and thought it was a comedy) and 1983’s “Never Say Never Again,” which was a riff on Sean Connery’s reported 1971 comment that he would never again play Bond. With that groundwork laid:

Johnson, who loves the spy who loved The Spy Who Loved Me (that is, Bond), sued MGM and Fox saying that all means all, but the studios said Dr. No, the box lists what’s in there, and not For Your Eyes Only. Take it out in The Living Daylights and look at it with your Goldeneye, following along with your Goldfinger if you have to. Hoping the litigation would Live and Let Die, they asked the court to use its License to Kill—I mean, dismiss—the suit. Those hoping for a View to a Kill August 4 were disappointed, however, when the judge said the suit would Die Another Day. Lest the Spectre of this suit make the studios feel like there’s an imminent Skyfall, they may take a Quantum of Solace that, perhaps like this suit, You Only Live Twice, and though Diamonds Are Forever, this litigation won’t be. …Moonraker.

The Court Reporter hopes all this stirring music doesn’t leave you shaken.