Jena Osman, "A Real Life Drama (Found Poem)"

A note provided by Osman: "All words that follow are culled from several April 1998 Supreme Court transcripts, as posted on the internet."
In a spirited argument
eight of nine justices fired questions
but the discussion ranged from goats and butterflies to koalas and even rare bugs splattered
on car windshields

Scalia: 	"Couldn't we pick an uglier example than a koala
		bear?"
Scalia: 	"To say this is taking an animal seems to me just weird."
Souter: 	"It seems to me you’re wrong when you say it's got to be 
		purposeful."
Justice Thomas was the only court member who refrained.
Stevens: 	"Would I be violating the law if I built a golf course 
		without the intention of causing a bird to become extinct, 
		but with the full knowledge that it would result in the
		bird's becoming extinct."

Souter: 	"Fairness cannot be stretched to the point of calling 
		this a fair trial."
Scalia:  	a blistering dissent.
Stevens: 	"The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it 
		shields fraudulent conduct. But political speech by its 
		nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences."
Stevens: 	"Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority."
Scalia: 	"It facilitates wrong by eliminating accountability, 
		which is ordinarily the very purpose of anonymity."
Rehnquist: 	"This they cannot do without seriously undercutting the 
		orderly process of law."
a spirited argument

Stevens: 	"The law was nothing more than an attempt to blindfold 
		the public"
Scalia: 	"[the doctrine] is a structural safeguard establishing 
		high walls and clear distinctions because low walls 
		and vague distinctions will not be judicially defensible 
		in the heat of interbranch conflict."
Scalia:		"In dictatorships of the modern world bills of 
		rights are a dime a dozen."
"imperial Presidency" "runaway Congress" "unelected judiciary"

Scalia this week borrowed from poet Robert Frost in offering one of his reasons why: "Good fences make good neighbors."

strongly worded opinion


Stevens: 	"To engage in such pure speculation while condemning 
		(the) assertion of increased punishment as 'specu-
		lative' seems to me not only unpersuasive 
		but actually perverse."
both lawyers were peppered with questions from eight justices. Only Justice Thomas did not ask one.


Scalia: 	"They weren't there to recreate. They were there to 
		express something."
O'Connor: 	"If a circus holds a parade 'expressing no viewpoint 
		except the circus is in town and everybody 
		come,' can an animal rights group demand the right 
		to march in that parade to protest the use of 
		circus animals?"
Stevens: 	"...how to distinguish between a sign for identification 
		and a sign for advocacy?"
Kennedy: 	"...for a Court to tell a private entity how to celebrate 
		is antithetical to the first amendment."
O'Connor: 	"[your argument is] so far-fetched it's hard to bring 
		this down to reality, down to the real world."
Only Justice Thomas, who remains silent in most arguments, appeared troubled by the notion that the Klan's white cross is a religious symbol.

Thomas: 	"You say this is a religious symbol. What is the religion 
		of the Klan?...If someone said the Klan was carrying 
		a cross down Pennsylvania Avenue, would the average 
		person, a reasonable person think that the Klan was 
		engaging in the free exercise of religion or a 
		political statement?"
impassioned dissents

O'Connor: 	"You come here arguing for this remarkable proposition to 
		suppress speech in a discriminatory fashion."
Thomas: 	"What does a burning cross symbolize?...Some might see 
		fire in that cross."
O'Connor:	"Does a reasonable person know how to read?"
Justice Scalia was also scathing.
Breyer: 	"Has the paper been piling up?"
Thomas, who came to the Supreme Court under a cloud
and immediately withdrew into a shell of silence,
peppered a lawyer with questions.