Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Broken News: Justice Stevens to Renounce Amateur Judicial Status, Turn Pro

WASHINGTON—When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 90, announced his retirement last week, most assumed that the rigors of the court combined with his advancing age had finally become too much for the revered jurist and that he was simply going to move on to retirement and a life of leisure.

But with spoilers leaking out for newly taped segments of next week’s Dancing With the Stars, it turns out that Justice Stevens has terminated his long standing amateur status in order to turn pro and pursue his other lifelong dream: judging celebrity dance contests for network TV.

Perhaps the early indication was in his resignation letter to the President. While one paragraph has been released to the public, Stevens also submitted an epilogue. In it Stevens referenced a need to pay off student loans for his legal education and also “make some serious bank.” He claimed that he could no longer be hindered by the Supreme Court’s onerous rules on amateur status and eligibility and was leaving to “do some real showboat judging for ridiculous coin.”

“I think he just became fed up with the politics of the thing,” said David Thompson, a former clerk for Justice Stevens. “He didn’t care for the hypocrisy of the American Amateur Judicial Association. Sure, they can make millions promoting the work of amateur judges and the yearly Jurisprudence Madness tournament, but if one guy tries to make a little cash on the side with a gavel endorsement? Disbarred.”

“I guess he just got tired, after 63 years, of dealing with the bullshit,” Thompson sighed. “Good for him, he’ll be raking it in now.”

This is thought to be a major coup for ABC’s Dancing With the Stars program, which has long fought for more legal credibility on its judging panel. It was initially thought that Stevens was looking for work in recently politicized beauty pageant field, but surprised everyone by going for the high stakes, high glamour world of celebrity contest judging.

“I guess he just wanted to roll with the big boys,” said Dan Harnett, a junior programming executive at ABC. “No disrespect to Thurgood Marshall, John Jay, and Earl Warren – I think we all recognize the purity of the legal game they played – but Stevens is finally stepping up to join the big dogs in the judging world; we're talking the likes of Simon Cowell, Judge Judy, and David Hasslehoff.”

Already some of Stevens' dynamite legal opinions are rocking the TV world. In one of his first written opinions, in the case of Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani v. Jitterbug, he is reported to have remarked that “One thing is certain. Although we may the identity of the winner of this year's competition for some time, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in your ability to put one foot in front of the other.”

Later he was said to remark towards Pamela Anderson that while he “always allowed dancers wide latitude in determining how best to achieve legitimate artistic goals,” that “the interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society is outweighed by your completely awful fucking dancing”, before decreeing the dance be edited out of the show. He then comically banged an oversized gavel on the judges table and proceeded to show Ms. Anderson how to execute a proper Charleston.

“That’s the kind of judging we all knew he was capable of,” observed Constitutional Law Scholar and George Washington University legal professor Jonathan Turley. “Sound legal opinion combined with the flash, showmanship, and showboating that pro judging requires. Another season or two of these kinds of performances and he might be ready to go down with the legal greats: getting his own judge show where he gets to mete out decisions in small claims court.”

In any event, if the leaked reports are true, former Justice Stevens seems to be well on his way towards fulfilling the promise he showed during his 35-year amateur career.

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