Friday, November 06, 2009

Do They Have Super Duper Precedent?

Legal briefs on the whole are dry, dull, boring affairs. Trust me - I write them for a living. It can be tempting to try and enliven things with a joke or a pop culture reference, but you have to tread carefully. If the audience either doesn't get the joke or is insulted at its very existence, you're better off dry, dull, and boring. And if you drop a pop culture reference, you might just find yourself on the receiving end of something like this:

Defendant further contends that his behavior could be construed as innocent ‘girl watching,’ citing Frank Loesser's immortal number ‘Standing on the Corner’ from Most Happy Fella (1956) (‘Brother, you can't go to jail for what you're thinking/Or for the “Ooooh” look in your eye.’). Research indicates, however, that Mr. Loesser's thoughts on the innocence of ‘girl watching’ have been limited, if not directly overruled, by more recent Broadway musicals. See, e.g., Stephen Sondheim, ‘Pretty Lady,’ Pacific Overtures (1976), and accompanying scene.
US v. Kaplansky, 42 F.3d 320, 327, fn. 1 (6th Cir. 1994)(en banc).

See, I never even learned the precedential hierarchy of Broadway shows in law school. I wonder how they'd fare compared to a Peter Hammil lyric (which I did deploy in a law school paper once)?

Stumbled across this one at work today and just had to share.

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