Live Long and Prosper, But Don’t Enact Retroactive Laws

judge invokes Star Trek

Mr. Spock for Supreme Court.

In an otherwise dry (due to subject matter), but well-written opinion involving legislative police power and retroactive laws, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett invoked the ultimate high authority for Baby Boomers everywhere.

No, not the U.S. Supreme Court. Star Trek!

Quoting the utilitarian principle that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” Justice Willett cites to Charles Dickens and Mr. Spock from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Here’s the footnote:

The film references several works of classic literature, none more prominently than A Tale of Two Cities. Spock gives Admiral Kirk an antique copy as a birthday present, and the film itself is bookended with the book’s opening and closing passages. Most memorable, of course, is Spock’s famous line from his moment of sacrifice: “Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh …” to which Kirk replies, “the needs of the few.”

As Star Trek sources go, The Wrath of Khan is a good one. Definitely more authoritative than, say, The Trouble with Tribbles.

Robinson v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 54 Tex. Sup. J. 71, 99 n.21 (Tex. 2010). Thanks to Tamara Davis by way of wired.com.

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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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