Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Supreme Court of Assholedom

So, Matt Taibbi conceives a new institution:
I want to create a new Supreme Court of Assholedom. Structured much like the actual U.S. Supreme Court, it will employ nine justices, whose job it will be to regularly preside over important cases of national social consequence -- to wit, to decide a) whether or not a certain person is an asshole, and b) if he or she is, how much of an asshole.

The court will consider cases of all types. They will have titles ranging from things likeUnited States v. Sarah Palin after the Tucson Shooting, to Taibbi v. Fat Guy in the Next Seat Who Monopolized the Whole Armrest on a Flight to Denver, to Humanity v. Anyone Who Has Ever Generated and/or Sent a Spam Message.

The court will focus particularly on establishing case law in those areas where existing laws don't apply. For instance, it's not against the law to be the highly-compensated attorney representing the Gigantic International Megabank that recently foreclosed on an old lady in suburban New Jersey because she entered one number incorrectly on one check for one monthly mortgage payment (there actually is such a case). That's not illegal, but if that's how you make your living -- if you paid for your S-Class Mercedes helping Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein throw old ladies out of their houses -- I'm pretty sure you're an asshole...

Other cases might establish important lasting societal precedents. For instance, a case such as Reader from Portland, Oregon v. Guy Driving 48 MPH In His SUV Full of Kids on I-84 might have a ruling that reads as follows:

Opinion (Hypothetical Justice #2): If you're driving really slowly on the highway and you accelerate every time someone tries to pass you, you're an asshole.

Dissent (none).

That's precedent that could stand forever. And if someone commits one of these offenses, people will be free to access these rulings, print them out, and show them to the offender, saying: "Look, you're wrong and you're an asshole, there's even case law on this."  (h/t 3QD)

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