Friday, April 28, 2006

Judicial Decisions, Coded and Outright

Recently it has become known that the judge in the Da Vinci Code case created a code of his own in his written decision, noted by randomly italicized and capitalized words in the text; he coined it the "Smithy Code." No one has yet decoded the message, but many are trying.

This leads to the discussion of other quirky decisions. Some judges will write in couplets, others insert movie titles. I'm fairly ignorant to the specifics, having instead to rely on an almost-lawyer friend. However, I have recently learned of another amusing judicial decision in Zim v. Western Publishing Co., 573 F.2d 1318 (5th Cir. 1978), a wrongful appropriation case. This is how it opens:

In the beginning, Zim created the concept of the Golden Guides. For the earth was dark and ignorance filled the void. And Zim said, let there be enlightenment and there was enlightenment. In the Golden Guides, Zim created the heavens (STARS) (SKY OBSERVER'S GUIDE) and the earth. (MINERALS) (ROCKS and MINERALS) (GEOLOGY).

Then there rose up in Western a new Vice-President who knew not Zim. And there was strife and discord, anger and frustration, between them for the Golden Guides were not being published or revised in their appointed seasons. And it came to pass that Zim and Western covenanted a new covenant, calling it a Settlement Agreement. But there was no peace in the land. Verily, they came with their counselors of law into the district court for judgment and sued there upon their covenants.

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