The legal gossip and commentary blog “Above the Law” is a useful source of inside-baseball stories about the machinations and peccadilloes of law firms, lawyers, judges and law students, and occasional hard news of special interest to lawyers. Today it sported an intriguing headline:
Samuel Alito Gets A Supreme Benchslap
…which was filed under the categories of Justice Alito, The Supreme Court, and benchslaps. The latter is legal jargon for a reprimand from a judge. The Supreme Court reprimanding one of its own justices is big news, and unprecedented. Like many others, I clicked on the link, and read a jaw-dropping, insulting rebuke of Justice Alito by Chief Justice Roberts, banishing him to “to a minor appellate jurisdiction” until he writes ” a few decisions in some lower-pressure situations” and is ready to return.
The post explained at the end of the quote that Justice Alito had been temporarily removed from the Supreme Court and appointed to the Eleventh Circuit, and that, according to reports, Alito will be replaced by Judge Ricardo Gonzalez of the District of Puerto Rico.
Then Above the Law’s writer, Staci Zaretski, revealed that…
(This quote comes from The Onion, a satirical news site, but that in no way takes away from the overall awesomeness of imagining a Supreme Court justice being demoted as a form of spanking.)
Ah. So you just wasted my time, then.
I had begun to suspect that the Roberts quote was fake, both for its use of the neckname “Sammie” for one of his brethren, and also because it sounded so much like a manager’s explanation for why a player was being sent to the minors. Nevertheless, posting a fake story, announced with a plausible headline, is unprofessional and unfair to ABL readers: Continue reading