ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, if there's ever been a branch of the US government that's unlikely to be bursting with pop-culture references, it's the Supreme Court. The President might appear in Spider-Man comics, and the Senate may well make jokes left right and center - and don't even get me started on the House of Representatives - but the Supreme Court? That sober, restrained group of highly-dignified jurists? Surely there's no chance of them producing even so much as a hint of pop-cultural whimsy. Right?

Well, as it turns out, not so much - y'see:

The Supreme Court's Justice Elena Kagan Just Made a Whole Bunch of Spider-Man Puns in an Official Ruling

In spectacular fashion.
In spectacular fashion.

Yup, that's right: After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marvel in a case that had been brought to them, Kagan wrote the official majority ruling - and peppered it with more Spider-Man puns than even Peter Parker would know what to do with.

Now, in fairness, this wasn't as peculiar a thing to do as it might initially seem, since the case - Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment centered on the patent rights relating to a mechanism used in Spider-Man themed web-shooter toys. Stephen Kimble, who had initially created the mechanism, had once pitched the idea to Marvel, who had subsequently used the technology without paying him royalties. Now, that case was settled back in 1997, with Marvel agreeing to not only but the patent off of Kimble, but to pay him 3% royalties in perpetuity.

Recently, though, Marvel came across Brulotte v. Thys Co. - a Supreme Court ruling that invalidated the need to pay Kimble royalties at all once the original patent expired, irrespective of their agreement - and so Kimble essentially set out to overturn Brulotte v. Thys Co.

Which didn't exactly work out for him, with the court siding with Marvel Entertainment 6-3, but since Justice Elena Kagan is a self-proclaimed “avid comic book fan”, the resulting ruling sure was packed with...

Some of the Greatest Spider-Puns Ever Added to a Judicial Ruling

"I can do this all day."
"I can do this all day."

You can, if you're so inclined, read the whole opinion right here, but the highlights can be found below...


"The parties set no end date for royalties, apparently contemplating that they would continue for as long as kids want to imitate Spider-Man (by doing whatever a spider can)"

Which is frankly perfect in its simplicity. Other gems included:

"Patents endow their holders with certain superpowers, but only for a limited time."

As well as the superspecial:

"Against this superpowered form of stare decisis, we would need a superspecial justification to warrant reversing Brulotte.”
And not just Carnage being kind of a tool.
And not just Carnage being kind of a tool.

And, of course, the old classic:

"Indeed, Brulotte's close relation to a whole web of precedents means that reversing it could threaten others."

Greatest of all, though, was her conclusion:

"What we can decide, we can undecide. But stare decisis teaches that we should exercise that authority sparingly. Cf. S. Lee and S. Ditko, Amazing Fantasy No. 15: “SpiderMan,” p. 13 (1962) (“[I]n this world, with great power there must also come — great responsibility”)."

Uncle Ben would be proud...

What do you reckon, though?

via Vanity Fair


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