August 8, 2004

Fortune-Telling Riposte

The blog of Eugene Volokh, a law professor at my alma mater, UCLA Law, The Volokh Conspiracy, is one of the more interesting and intellectual legal blogs out there. Here's a sample, on the lighter side:

"With the City of LA contemplating licensing and enacting a curfew for fortune tellers, this tidbit, quoting California Supreme Court Justice Mosk, is particularly apt:

"A small community in California passed a local ordinance prohibiting fortune telling within its city limits. A fortuneteller named Fatima Stevens brought a lawsuit seeking an injunction against enforcement of the ordinance. Obviously there were serious First Amendment problems with the ordinance, which was a total prohibition -- not a regulation or a licensing -- of the activity. However, the fortuneteller lost in the courts below, and our Supreme Court granted a hearing.

"As counsel for the fortuneteller rose for oral argument to present her case, Chief Justice Lucas said, 'Counsel, you have us at a disadvantage.'

The attorney was perplexed. 'Why, Your Honor?'

'''Well,' said the Chief Justice, 'hasn't your client told you how this case will ultimately turn out?'

"On its face this was an irrelevant joke; but it was, intentionally or not, sending a subtle message that fortune-telling is indeed bunk, and that even the lawyer can't be taking it seriously -- something that would have dovetailed well with the city's arguments that fortune-telling is fraudulent and should be banned. Dangerous stuff for the lawyer. Here's how Mosk describes the lawyer's artful dodge:

"I could not have conceived of an appropriate response to that judicial hand grenade. But this attorney was up to the challenge. 'No, Your Honor,' he replied. 'You must remember I did not consult my client for advice. She consulted me.'

"The fortune-teller won."

1 comment:

vella said...

This side of life.: Fortune telling - рождественские гадания