Give Me That Old-Time Religion:

In one of the Ten Commandments cases, Van Orden v. Texas, Chief Justice Rehnquist writes: "Our cases, Januslike, point in two directions in applying the Establishment Clause."

I like the religious reference in a case about religious references, but it made me wonder more broadly: What other gods can one analogize to -- preferably humorously -- in a description of the Court's caselaw, whether on the Establishment Clause or any other legal provision? For consistency of tone, I suggest that all submissions start with "Our cases, ___like, . . . ." Think of them as a sort of law-classics-geek-Tom-Swifties.

lucia (mail) (www):
"Our cases, Persephone like, sometimes live in the illuminated surface of earth, and sometimes in the dark dungeons of Hades."
6.30.2005 9:19pm
Eric James Stone (mail) (www):
Our cases, Athenalike, spring fully formed from our heads.
6.30.2005 9:20pm
Jeff R.:
Our cases, C'thulhu-like, rise from the murky depths only when the stars are right.
6.30.2005 9:33pm
Jay Tea (mail) (www):
"Our cases, Ra-like, had their most essential elements severed and tossed in the river..."

"Our cases, Oedipus-like, are a couple of sorry mother..."

I think I should quit now.

6.30.2005 9:34pm
Patrick McKenzie (mail):
Our cases, Juggernaut-like, are so controversial that they threaten the Court as much as they threaten the Constitutional violations we attempt to extinguish, because it is an open question whether the idol will grind down the violations or whether we will be crushed by the inescapable weight of our own jurisprudence as it drives us onward to even more unsustainable extremes.

Our cases, Amaterasu*-like, suffer from a schizophrenic desire to be the light to the world and to hide in the cave of legalistic minutiae. Every so often the sight of our own jurisprudence entices us out of the cave, the world half delighting to have the moral order restored and half dreading our wrath at being disturbed. (*Sun goddess, loosely speaking the head of the Shinto pantheon. She had a bout of depression one day at the responsibility and decided to hide out in a cave, which plunged the world into unending night, until somebody enticed her out with a mirror.)
6.30.2005 9:41pm
Rob Rickner (mail):
The story of Persephone really resembles consumer credit. The daughter of demeter, tempted by Hades, eats a few seeds and has to spend a good portion of her life in hell afterwards. It's just like buying a new television on a 32.99% interest credit card.
6.30.2005 9:45pm
William Spieler (mail) (www):
EJS wins
6.30.2005 9:47pm
David Hardy (mail) (www):
"Our cases, like Zeus' sexual preferences, go both ways."

"As Athena sprang from the brow of Zeus, just so the majority's reasoning springs from their ethanol-induced delusions."

"The dead had to pay Charon an obol in order to gain admission to Hades; this court has a higher filing fee and, if our caselaw is any indication, the resulting experience is not materially better."
6.30.2005 9:47pm
SteveMG (mail):
"Our cases, like Proteus, lead us to changing the form and substance of the Establishment Clause. Today, it comes to us in one shape; tomorrow, an entirely new one."

Nah, doesn't work.

EJS wins.

6.30.2005 9:55pm
meep (mail) (www):
Our cases, Medusa-like, paralyze all who look upon them.

...I hope, in the future, that good things, Pegasus-like, will spring from the hacked neck of that Medusa....

...or is that taking the simile too far? Extended similes? Hmmm.
6.30.2005 10:06pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I just wish we could include saints.

"Our cases, St. James like, can be Greater or Lesser."
6.30.2005 10:20pm
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
Our cases, Vesta-like, are as mysterious and unhelpful as a 40 year-old virgin.

Our cases, Quirinus-like, are important to us but aren't followed by anyone else and most certainly will be forgotten by posterity.

Our cases, Diana-like, reflect elite and foreign fads and sensibilities rather than anything well-established in our own heritage.
6.30.2005 10:48pm
novalis (mail) (www):
The Lemon test, like Cerebus...
6.30.2005 11:04pm
DNL (mail):
The exclusionary rule, much like William Shatner, is so strange that one cannot help but marvel in its awesomeness.
6.30.2005 11:12pm
Jeremy Richey (mail) (www):
Our cases, ghoul-like, haunt lawyers, citizens, and little children.

As to the Court's invocation of the Lemon test: Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again, frightening the little children and school attorneys of Center Moriches Union Free School District. Its most recent burial, only last Term, was, to be sure, not fully six feet under. . . . Over the years, however, no fewer than five of the currently sitting Justices have, in their own opinions, personally driven pencils through the creature's heart. . . .

The secret of the Lemon test's survival, I think, is that it is so easy to kill. It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will. When we wish to strike down a practice it forbids, we invoke it . . .; when we wish to uphold a practice it forbids, we ignore it entirely. . . . Sometimes, we take a middle course, calling its three prongs "no more than helpful signposts. . . ." Such a docile and useful monster is worth keeping around, at least in a somnolent state; one never knows when one might need him.

Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384, 398-399 (1993)(Scalia, J., concurring)(citations omitted).
6.30.2005 11:44pm
just me:
Our right wing, like Sisyphus, pushes the rock right near the top of the hill (see Lucas, Lopez, Webster), only to be crushed when it rolls back down to the bottom (see Kelo, Raich, Casey).

Or maybe they're Tantalus, with those 4th and 5th votes just out of reach . . .
6.30.2005 11:52pm
"Our cases, Van Halen-like, suffer from an inability to stay true to the ethoi that originally brought us the support that allowed us to become as influential as we are."
7.1.2005 12:27am
Troy Hinrichs (mail):
"Our cases... Jehovah-like Oh wait we can't put that in a publicly-funded document."

There is but one god and MARSHALL is His name. In fact let's spell it MRSHLL and not pronounce it aloud so as not to blaspheme.

Mixed religions I realize..., but then it's no more or less focused than SCOTUS doctrine in this area.
7.1.2005 4:00am
"Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." -- Friedrich Nietzsche. And so it is with Soverign Immunity jurisprudence.

(Nevertheless, Nietzsche -- as religious as they come, in fact, presicely for his willingness to overthrow Christianity, did say that there is always reason in madness.)
7.1.2005 4:02am
Bob Woolley:
(Following up on Troy Hinrichs's suggestion.)

Rehnquist: "Our cases, Jehovah-like...."

Unidentified religious leader: "He said 'Jehovah'! Stone him"

Rehnquist, dancing a little jig: "Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah!"

URL: "Stop that! You're only making it worse for yourself!"


[If there be any who fail to grasp the reference here, see Then be deeply, deeply ashamed of yourself for not knowning it.]
7.1.2005 7:27am
Bob Woolley:
Our cases show that we follow the admonition of Jesus, that the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing.
7.1.2005 7:28am
Gary (mail):
Our cases, Ahura Mazda-like, create law and bring light and goodness to the nation.
7.1.2005 10:22am
Shelby (mail):
"Our cases, Hermes Trismegistus-like, allude to hidden truths while providing cover for pseudorationalist nonsense."
7.1.2005 1:10pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Our cases, Loki-like, have wreaked mischief upon municipalities whose residents are mostly please with the way things have been done.

7.1.2005 2:05pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Our cases, Prometheus like, bring light to the night of jurisprudence until they have their entrails torn out by lower court interpretation.

Our cases, Frankenstein-like, are assembled from the carcasses of case law and brought to life by the lightning of constitutional jurisprudence. Unfortunately, this case seems to be reasoned by an abnormal brain.
7.1.2005 3:29pm
Too easy, really.

"Our cases, Bacchus-like, drive both their followers and their enemies to madness."

I'm surprised no one beat me to that one.
7.1.2005 3:47pm
J Barrett (mail):
Our cases, Procustean-like, will sleep in our bed of stare decisis
7.1.2005 4:04pm
J (mail):
Our cases, Phoenixlike, are born from the ashes of previous cases.
7.1.2005 7:40pm
David Wagner (mail) (www):
Mine are all from THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG:

Our cases, Wotan-like, suffer from a broken spear and imminent destruction.

Our cases, Loge-like, surround the Valkyries-Rock of the Establishment Clause and forbid entry to all but most leather-lunged of Heldentenors.

Our cases, Fasolt- and Fafner-like, leave a thick and debilitating mist as they stumble down the mountain.

Our cases, Erda-like, sleep for ages, then emerge to give useless information, or none.

Our cases, Norn-like, discuss precedents and then vanish.
7.2.2005 2:55pm