Legal History

Judge Criticizes “Behemoth Pleadings”

Here are some words & phrases that you really don't want a judge to apply to anything you file: sprawling behemoth surplusage larded with brims with masquerading as voluminous breathtaking madness chokes the docket intended to overwhelm labyrinthian prolixity of…


“The Cause of Action is Denied as Unintelligible”

"An amusing order," said Matt, who sent me this. Matt, you had me at "Living Soul Chief Asan Manuel Mustafah Fearce W. Yahzoo." This comes to us from the Northern District of West Virginia, where yesterday a judge dismissed a…


Please Read This Before Bombing New Mexico

First: Do not blow up any part of New Mexico without express permission. Second: By "this" I don't mean this post, although if you have started your research here that is fine, if somewhat disturbing. By "this," of course, I…


President Adopts Potential Werewolf

In a lovely ceremony last week, the president of Argentina, Christina Fernández de Kirchner, became the godmother of Yair Tawil (second from left). Contrary to some reports, this had nothing to do with him turning into a werewolf. Not directly, anyway….



Congress: Please Don’t Ask Us to Declare War; We Might Say No

[King George III has, among other things,] kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. —Declaration of Independence…


The Guano Islands Act and So Forth

For Day 2 of my Volokh Conspiracy guest-bloggery, I wrote about the Guano Islands Act and some other old laws that are still on the books in various jurisdictions, often for no good reason. If you are still 1,100 words short of…


Sasquatch Goes to Harvard

Well, it's disturbing enough that Harvard's law library actually houses a copy of this book (and that someone has it checked out when they should be studying), but now here it is on Joseph Story's lap. "Listen, I wrote Martin v. Hunter's…



The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance!

I am very happy to announce that my project of collecting odd laws, which I creatively referred to as "The Odd Law Project," has now become (or I guess is about to become) my first book: Obviously I changed the…