Federal Judge and the Turtles are Happy Together


Imagine you and me.

How can you not love U.S. District Judge William G. Young, chief judge for the District of Massachusetts, for his candor and willingness to come clean on an error he made in a case?

Confronted with a motion for new trial based in part on his allegedly erroneous jury instructions, he stated candidly: “[D]espite case-specific guidance from the court of appeals, I botched the instructions to the jury.”

Even better, Judge Young began his opinion in Suboh v. Borgioli by setting forth the lyrics to “a derisive ditty going around the courthouse” set to the music of “Happy Together” by the Turtles. The original version of “Happy Together,” penned by Gary Bonner and Alan Gordon, reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts the week of Mar. 25, 1967. I’m not sure this rewritten version, poking fun at the high-mindedness of federal judges, will reach that level of success, but it’s still fun.

Here’s a taste of the song as set forth in Judge Young’s opinion:

Imagine me as God. I do.

I think about it day and night.

It feels so right

To be a federal district judge and know that I’m

Appointed forever.


I’m a federal judge

And I’m smarter than you

For all my life.

I can do whatever I want to do

For all my life.

Appointed Forever, Bar & Grill Singers.

Who are the Bar & Grill singers? Are they paying royalties to Bonner and Gordon?

McClurg footnote: In answer to the question posed above, yes, the Bar and Grill Singers do pay royalties on their tunes. In fact, a new version of “Appointed Forever” will appear on their new (and third) CD. The Bar and Grill Singers are 12 lawyers from Austin. You can check out them out here.

Suboh v. Borgioli, 298 F. Supp. 2d 192, 194 (D. Mass. 2004). Thanks to Michael Hirschowitz.

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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