Some surprising Supreme Court decisions


With the current Supreme Court term coming to an end, it’s time to take an Oblogatory look at some of the interesting cases that somehow didn’t make the headlines.

Paper vs. Plastic—Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arguing for the six member majority, decimates the paper industry’s claims of ecological superiority. In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas mentions that his maternal great-grandfather worked in a paper mill.

Paper, et al. vs Rock & Scissors Industries, Inc.—Here the court somewhat reverses course and rules in favor of paper, but on very narrow grounds. Justice David Souter, in the majority opinion, argues that based on a strict interpretation of U.S. vs. Lagree Holdings, paper bests rock in all situations, and that accommodating scissors’s claims of paper’s prior diminishment constitutes prima facie acceptance of a prohibited rock and scissors duopoly. In his separate dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas mentions that he kept a small rock as an imaginary friend throughout law school.

Earth, Wind & Fire vs. SOS Band—While conceding that Earth, Wind & Fire had many more Top 40 and R&B chart hits, Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, said the Court found that the beguiling vocals of SOS’s lead singer, Mary Davis, coupled with the groundbreaking production of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, gave the group the edge, booty-shaking-wise. Justice Clarence Thomas, citing obvious conflicts, recused himself from the case.

Meat and Potatoes vs. Those Fancy Schmancy Foods—While the decision favoring meat and potatoes itself was not surprising given the justices’ age and their well known aversion to “New Taste Tuesdays,” a short-lived experiment in the SCOTUS cafeteria, the 8-1 majority that shattered ideological divisions was an eye-opener. In his lone dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote, “I can have meat on my plate. And once I eat said meat, I can have potatoes on my plate. Conversely, I can have potatoes on my plate, and once I eat said potatoes, I can have meat on my plate. But two very different kinds of foods on my plate at the same time and possibly touching? Blech! Dude, that freaks me out.”