Now it's time for a much-needed break from this blog's non-stop coverage of Harriet Miers. (For the latest news about our SCOTUS nominee and her romantic misadventures, be sure to check out Wonkette's special report: "Harriet and Nathan and Priscilla and Us.")
Not too long ago, a UTR reader emailed Article III Groupie with this sensational celebrity sighting:
I was at a debate tonight (September 20) between Judge Richard A. Posner and Professor (and ex-Dean) Geoffrey R. Stone, of the University of Chicago Law School [whose faculty now has a blog, by the way]. The Posner-Stone debate was held at the New York Public Library and concerned the Patriot Act.*
I had no idea Judge Posner has such a great sense of humor! Just thought I would fill you in on some of the things that Judge Posner had to say:
1. Debate over extreme positions has taken over in America. He views the Ten Commandments case as an insignificant case, as the majority of the country just doesn't care whether there are Commandments in public places and "no one is going around worrying about graven images anymore."
2. The ACLU has become a partisan interest group like any other that takes up insignificant issues and can be ignored because of their predictability, unless they come across some monumental conflict like one which "pits picketing against abortion" (his crack, not mine).
3. In deciding a case about the consitutionality of an Indianapolis statute banning children under the age of 18 from being in an arcade with violent games, he had to research video games, since apparently he had never played one. He said he liked Mortal Kombat!
Mortal Kombat!?!? That little detail definitely got A3G's attention! Could it be true that one of the federal judiciary's leading lights has a weakness for video games?
A digression: if so, that would be two leading lights of the federal judiciary with a weakness for video games. Judge Alex Kozinski's love of video games is well-known. As noted in Emily Bazelon's great profile of him, Judge Kozinski even writes video game reviews for the Wall Street Journal!
In her interview with Will Baude of Crescat Sententia, A3G dodged the question (#15) of who would prevail in a judicial celebrity death-match between Judge Posner and Judge Kozinski. Maybe the best way to answer that query would be to pit the two jurists against each other in a Mortal Kombat tournament!
Okay, back to Judge Posner. Because A3G has been burned in the past by passing along erroneous information about Posnerian sight-ations, she decided to do something that "real journalists" are known for: fact-checking. She sent the following email to Judge Posner himself:
Dear Judge Posner:
Greetings. How are you? I hope all is well; it has been a while since our last communication.
I was just writing with a bit of fact-checking. Recently I received the email printed below from a loyal UTR reader, concerning a debate you recently had with Professor Geoffrey Stone. Before I reprinted it in blog, in whole or in part, I wanted to confirm its accuracy with you; I would not want to misquote you again....
Is there anything in the email below (reprinted after the asterisks) that is incorrect (or that, even if correct, you would not want to appear in UTR)? In particular, is it true that you have played Mortal Kombat? And if so, who is your favorite character or player (a.k.a. "kombat-tant") to employ, and do you have a favorite "special move" or "fatality"?
I completely understand if you don't have the time to take a look at this. But if you do, I would be most grateful for your confirmation of the accuracy or inaccuracy of this message. I do try to be as accurate as possible in my blog!
And she received the following, fabulous response from Judge Posner:
Dear Ms. Groupie, the email is completely accurate and I have no objection to your publishing it. However, to correct a minor point in your email (not in the email from your reader), I have not actually played Mortal Kombat, much as I would like to. I just saw a tape of it being played, which was part of the record of the Indianapolis case.
I liked the female character [Sonya]. Someday I would like to write something about the "killer woman" as a phase of feminism: I have in mind Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) in The Matrix, Sharon Stone in Total Recall, and the female robot [played by Kristanna Loken] in the third Terminator. I am sure there are others. All the best. Richard Posner
WOW! How cool is that? For those of you who enjoy reading UTR, you had better hope Judge Posner never writes that article -- because once he does, and A3G reads it, its sheer fabulousity will give her a fatal heart attack!**
In fact, even the idea of Judge Posner playing Mortal Kombat -- which, as he mentioned in his email, he is eager to do -- gives Article 3 Groupie heart palpitations. In her mind's eye, she sees the following scene:
Judge Richard Posner and his grandson, Nathaniel, are sitting on an Oriental rug on the floor of the Posners' Hyde Park home. The two are playing Mortal Kombat with unbelievable intensity and zeal, oblivious to everything but the television screen in front of them. Judicial spouse Charlene Posner stands behind the pair, her arms folded, looking on with good-natured exasperation.
The doorbell rings. Transfixed by their video game, Judge Posner and Nathaniel don't even notice; Charlene goes to answer the door.
Charlene Posner opens the door just a crack, to see who's there. But as soon as she does so -- WHAM! -- the door flies open, and Charlene falls backwards onto the floor. She is powerless to stop the whirlwind that has just blown into the Posnerian living room: that irresistible force of nature, Senatrix Hillary Rodham Clinton!!!
Clad in her trademark black pantsuit, and showing no respect whatsoever for the separation of powers, the Article I diva strides across the room and plants herself squarely in front of the Article III deity. Senator Clinton is now blocking Judge Posner's view of the screen.
Judge Posner is not fazed by the presence in his home of America's most famous legislatrix. He is, however, annoyed that she is disrupting his video game.
"Excuse me, Senator Clinton, but would you please step away from the television," he says dryly. "You are blocking our view. My grandson and I are in the middle of a game of Mortal Kombat."
"And that, Judge Posner, is exactly the problem!" exclaims the good Senatrix. "Here's a copy of my press release, announcing my proposed legislation to institute a video game ratings system. Violent video games are stealing the innocence of our children. How can you allow your grandson to play Mortal Kombat? Have you no sense of decency?"
And with that, Senator Hillary Clinton reaches down, wrenches the video game controls away from Judge Posner and Nathaniel, and heads for the door. The stunned Judge Posner does not move; little Nathaniel starts to cry.
When Senator Clinton reaches the threshold of the Posners' front door, she pauses briefly to address Charlene Posner, who is still on the ground, in a daze.
"Take it from me, Charlene," says Senator Clinton. "You can't let your husband play too much with his joystick . A wife must learn how to control her husband's self-destructive behavior. If a wife can't control her husband, nobody can!"
And with those parting words, our future president sweeps out of the Posnerian residence, towards her black limousine idling at the curb...
* If you missed the live Posner v. Stone debate, you can catch the virtual one going on at Legal Affairs. Dan Markel of PrawfsBlawg highlights one especially "tasty" exchange, in this post (which also contains some tidbits about Judge Posner's upbringing that may be new to some of you, although not to readers of this brilliant profile).
** Okay, maybe "fabulosity" is not a real word -- but come on, you know what A3G means!