Eugene Volokh is asking readers to submit humorous quotes from Supreme Court opinions. Not surprisingly, most of the submitted quotations were written by our most brilliant Justice: Antonin Scalia.
My personal favorite is his description of the “Lemon test” from Establishment Clause jurisprudence. [The “Lemon test” is simply a test sometimes used to evaluate whether a government action violates the Establishment Clause.] No law can pass the “Lemon test,” so the Court (despite having disapproved its use in the past) drags it out when the majority wants to rule against the government. If the majority wishes to rule for the government, it simply pretends that the Lemon test doesn’t exist. It is this inconsistent application of the Lemon test that Scalia mocks in this passage:
Like some ghoul in a late night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District.
. . . .
The secret of the Lemon test’s survival, I think, is that it is so easy to kill. It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will.
. . . .
Such a docile and useful monster is worth keeping around, at least in a somnolent state; one never knows when one might need him.
Is it any wonder that Scalia is my favorite Supreme Court Justice?