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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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Supreme Comedy

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For those of you who aced last week’s pop quiz challenge to name all the Supreme Court Justices, it’s time to move on to the next level. Which justices require no laugh track?

Since 2005 , Jay Wexler has combed through transcripts from Supreme Court oral arguments to find how many times the reporters have registered [laughter] in response to  the justices. The results are in and Justice Scalia has topped the list once again with 83 instances of [laughter]. In a blog post  about the most recent study, Wexler lists Scalia’s “classic laugh lines” as well as what he (Wexler) considers the best joke of the year.

Those justices ranking on the low end of the laugh-o-meter shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. This study is hardly scientific and Wexler admits  to playing favorites with the justices when it comes to counting. Curious about the ranking? Here it is:

Scalia: 83

Breyer: 56

Roberts: 30

Kagan: 15


Alito: 7

Sotomayor: 6

Ginsburg: 2

Thomas: 0

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