“Please be seated,” gestured Chief Judge Budge to the gallery and to the other circuit judges of the appellate panel, Judge Mint, and the Honorable Meredith Mention. “We will now hear arguments in In Re The Energizer Bunny. That’s a battery case, if I’m not mistaken, Judge Mention?”. Judge Budge’s law clerk approached the bench, embarrassed, and whispered to him, “That’s the wrong case, sir.” “Oh,” exclaimed the erring judge to the chortling audience, “no, we won’t.” Arranging his papers in order, he forgave himself quickly before the onlookers, imparting to them that it was still early in the term.
“Of course I mean John Doe and Jane Roe v. The Federal Turnpike Authority. Never thought I’d see them on the same side of the ‘v.’ Mr. Phancypants, you may begin.”
“Thank you, your Honor,” said Jean Phancypants. “May it please the Court, the Constitution guarantees happiness to everyone...”
“Then why am I bald, Mr. Phancypants?” interjected Judge Mint.
“I mean equal protection of the laws,” corrected Mr. Phancypants. “And it is with callous disregard of this sacred tenet that the FTA declared my clients unfit parents to adopt a highway.”
Well after adopting a highway, somebody's gotta clean up after it.
“Just what did the FTA find?” inquired Judge Mention.
“May it please the Court, the FTA found below that Mr. Doe placed Burma-Shave-style advertising signs along Route 81 for the sale of his old futon. It also found from the testimony of several survivors of a multi-car pileup that Mrs. Roe to took them to a lake-side retreat for a several weeks to brainwash them into making Jesus their literal seatbelt–which is utterly false. She wanted Jesus to be their insurance.”
“Sorry, Mr. Phancypants,” confided Judge Mint, “but the record below will have to stand. Jesus was their seatbelt.”
“That sounds like strong evidence to the FTA’s case,” picked up Judge Budge. “What have you got to the contrary?”
“May it please the Court...”
“Stop saying that,” Judge Budge cautioned, “we’re pleased, now go ahead.”
“May the pleased Court observe on page eight of my brief to the case of United States v. 300 Miles of Paved Black Stuff Commonly Referred to as Asphalt, where the Court held that a couple could aggressively protect their adopted highway against littering by hiring soldiers of fortune to snipe the tires of offenders from the perimeter loblollies. This case follows 300 Miles of Paved Black Stuff in lock step: both parents were only looking after the best interests of their highway.”
“Mr. Phancypants,” said Judge Mint, readjusting his position to hide his disbelief at Mr. Phancypant’s untenable legal position, “you know very well that this Court has never been disposed to step into the affairs of the military, civilian or otherwise. And while looking after the best interests of a highway’s future is a noble motivation, the FTA had already adopted the highway in that case, whereas that is precisely the question at bar. Can you give me any reason why we should reconsider the FTA’s judgment?”
“Well, your Honors,” began Mr. Phancypants, “I hope I’m not out of line here, but I believe that Judge Budge bought Mr. Doe’s futon, and that you three are sitting on it right now.”
The triumvirate weighed the silence heavily on Mr. Doe’s futon. Then Judge Budge pressed a hidden button and intoned,
“I’m sorry Mr. Phancypants, but your allotted time ended at, ‘I hope I’m not out of line here.’ Didn’t you see the red light turn on in the podium? Please be more punctual in the future, as we’ll have to end it there,” concluding the case with a bang of the gavel. “Is the Energizer Bunny ready?” he asked his law clerk.