Should Judges Rhyme?

Should judges rhyme? A recent offering by Justice Michael Eakin (Pa. Sup. Ct.), one of the better rhyming judges, is submitted for your expert poetic analysis, preferably with reference to the late romantic period of Shelly, Byron and Keats.

Sung to the tune of the theme song from “Mr. Ed,” the television sitcom about the talking horse, here is part of Justice Eakin’s rhyming dissent from a ruling that the state’s drunk driving law does not apply to people on horses:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

but the Vehicle Code does not divorce

its application from, perforce,

a steed, as my colleagues said.

“It’s not vague” I’ll say until I’m hoarse,

and whether a car, a truck or horse

this law applies with equal force,

and I’d reverse instead.

To which we can add, with all due respect to Justice Eakin:

Justice Eakin, we love you, man,

for trying to do whatever you can

to spice up the lives of bar and bench.

But although it’s a dicey subject to broach,

could you please consider another approach?

‘Cause that latest rhyme gives off a bit of a stench.

Just kidding around, Justice Eakin. We love ya. Other Justice Eakin rhymes  can be found here.

Commonwealth v. Noel, 857 A.2d 1283, 1291 (Pa. 2004) (Eakin, J., dissenting). Thanks to Kelly Jordan.

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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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