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Supreme Court

  • By: Ryan A. Malphurs
  • In: Encyclopedia of Humor Studies
  • Edited by: Salvatore Attardo
  • Subject:General Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, Sociology of Culture

As a term, Supreme Court humor may seem paradoxical to readers. However, in a place where gods, goddesses, angels, and statues of historical figures suggest the solemn nature of the Court’s task, visitors would hardly expect a U.S. Supreme Court justice to discuss his underwear. And yet, during Safford Unified School District v. Redding (2009), Justice Stephen G. Breyer openly revealed an intimate detail of his personal childhood, which will likely be forever remembered for its supremely embarrassing nature and the resulting howls of laughter that followed.

Justice Breyer: In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, okay? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes ...

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