Fake News: High court looks at makeover

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 1) — Sources inside the U.S. Supreme Court report that justices aim to reverse recent negative portrayals with a series of reforms. Among the changes on tap are plans to murmur rather than announce newly decided opinions, corporate sponsorships of judicial precedents, and agreeing to hear cases of personal grudges as matters of constitutional law.

When six members of the nation’s highest court appeared last week at the State of the Union address, Justice Samuel Alito was seen whispering “not true” and shaking his head as President Obama criticized a ruling that allows unlimited corporate campaign contributions. The incident garnered so much attention for the typically overlooked bench that it may become the standard for the release of legal opinions.

“Our usual method of posting trial outcomes on our website wasn’t generating much interest,” said clerk Eric Stern. “Alito’s muttering had over a million hits on YouTube alone, and we’re thinking that’s publicity you can’t put a price on.”

Under the proposal, future decisions would be announced in understated tones by justices from the midst of large crowds at sporting events, concerts or theatrical productions. For example, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg might whisper at the Daytona 500 that it’s been decided that lower courts do not have the power to release Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. Or Justice Anthony Kennedy might mumble the Court’s decision in Bilski v. Doll affirming key aspects of patent law during intermission at a Broadway musical.

“Anybody who really cared about the details — which, admit it, is virtually no one — could then check out the whole decision online,” Stern said. “But the Jumbotron would catch the essential up-and-down or side-to-side head movement. Any judgments or dissents that accompany the nodding could be captured by fellow audience members, who would meet with the media afterwards.”

The second reform floated would allow the financial underwriting of major rulings by large multinational companies. Since giving the green light to millions in campaign contributions, the Court has so far been unable to monetize this key affirmation of First Amendment rights and grab a little coin for its own pockets.

“There’s a case being considered right now called U.S. vs. Comstock which involves keeping sex offenders in prison after they’ve completed their sentences,” Stern said. “Obviously, neither side has much to offer the Court financially. But if we could rebrand the dispute as U.S. vs. Comstock, presented by AT&T, there would be significant income to the judicial branch.”

Finally, a plan for the justices to preside over minor disputes between individuals might be a way to connect with average citizens while provoking interest in matters juicier than cases like Salazar v. Buono, a battle over jurisdiction in the California desert. If minor barroom confrontations, misunderstood wager agreements or domestic quarrels were added to the docket, interest in proceedings in the third branch of the federal government could skyrocket.

“Who cares whether prosecutors can rely on crime lab reports unless they make analysts who prepared the reports available to testify?” Stern asked, referring to this term’s “hottest” case, Briscoe v. Virginia. “I’d like to hear what Chief Justice (John) Roberts has to say about how that drinking contest between Cooter and Junior ended up in a fistfight. Clarence Thomas would definitely have thoughts regarding why Elwood got home so late and forgot Lydia’s birthday (again!) that are worth sharing.”

Proposed changes are expected to be enacted before the Court’s term ends in April, though insiders admit that could be delayed pending the outcome of negotiations for a syndication deal with Fox TV for fall sweeps.

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One Response to “Fake News: High court looks at makeover”

  1. artiste7 Says:

    Love your stories, very sharp wit! Keep writing.

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