Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Other Circuits Ain't Got Nothing on The Seventh!

The Seventh Circuit is notorious for its braininess and eminence. With Judges Posner and Easterbrook at the helm, the Seventh Circuit is a powerhouse of jurisprudence. However, in recent years, the Seventh Circuit has seemingly decided to add another facet to its notoriety--not only is it the baddest Circuit around, but it's also the coolest.

The first hint that I can find toward this embrace of cool is a post last year from Volokh: the Seventh Circuit uses Wikipedia when it feels like it. The Seventh Circuit re-asserted its coolness with Posner's analysis of so-called "sex toys" earlier this year.

And now, in concurrence with such general hipness, the Seventh Circuit, in two different opinions by different jurists (Bauer and Tinder), has decided that citing movies in footnotes is what cool circuits do. "But, Fred, which movies are required viewing before meeting the Seventh Circuit?" Well, sir/madam, you can't go wrong with My Cousin Vinnie [sic] and Training Day.


Sutherland v. Gaetz, No. 08-1404, slip op. at 3 n.1 (7th Cir. Sept. 14, 2009) (Bauer, J.) ("Defense counsel's obstinate behavior and the court’s exasperation with it may be reminiscent for some of the contentious interplay between the fictional characters of Vincent LaGuardia Gambini and Judge Chamberlain Haller in the film 'My Cousin Vinnie.'").

United States v. Haynes, No. 08-1466, slip op. at 2 n.1 (7th Cir. Sept. 17, 2009) (Tinder, J.) ("As you read this, it may be difficult to tell the cops from the crooks. That’s because many of the actors in these events are both. You may be reminded of a popular movie released in 2001, Training Day, featuring Denzel Washington’s Oscar winning portrayal of the ultimate corrupt cop.").

Fred's side note (probably NSFW): This is how I'd imagine the 7th Circuit would react if some lesser Circuit tried to betray it (somehow).


  1. you forgot Posner's numerous trips describing his personal intellecutal development.

  2. Don't forget Judge Evans:

    "The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch 'hoe.' A 'hoe,' of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden's response. We have taken the liberty of changing 'hoe' to 'ho,' a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps 'You doin' ho activities with ho tendencies."

  3. they're judges, which makes them boring to everyone, except the legal professionals who hang onto their words.

  4. I clerked at the 7th Circuit, and once in a bench memo footnote quoted the Ocean's Eleven "run and hide" speech in the case of a criminal defendant who bought a couple of expensive cars the week after robbing a bank. Alas, my judge was not assigned the opinion, so the bench memo was as far as the reference got.

  5. Don't forget Judge Tinder's 30 Rock reference: U.S. v. Hill, 07-3341.


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