Just in time for April Fools' Day: The David Souter bobblehead, the latest in the series of Supreme Court bobbleheads created by the unconventional law review The Green Bag, has been delivered to the lucky justice.
We've taken a peek and think the Souter bobblehead has taken the art form to a new level. As with the previous five dolls of sitting justices, Souter's is rich with iconography devised by Green Bag's editor in chief Ross Davies, a law professor at George Mason University. Every facet of the doll has meaning, drawn from the justice's jurisprudence or personal history.
With Souter, you'll notice two things right away: He has a gold chain around his neck, and he is seated on a lifeguard stand. And another thing: This bobblehead has audio. We'll break it down for you:
• The bling replicates the jewelry worn by members of the 2 Live Crew rap group that Souter wrote about in his 1994 decision Campbell v. Acuff Music. That ruling gave "fair use" copyright protection to the rappers' parody of a Roy Orbison song.
• The lifeguard stand represents Souter's 1998 ruling in Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, in which the city was held liable for sexual harassment committed by supervisors against lifeguard Beth Faragher.
• The audio is an excerpt from "Float On," a song by Modest Mouse. The notoriously low-tech justice gave the group a shout-out in passing in his 2005 decision in MGM Studios v. Grokster, which found that Grokster's file-sharing amounted to inducement of copyright infringement. The group gave Davies permission to use the song snippet in the bobblehead.
• The copy of U.S. Reports in Souter's lap cites to his 1996 U.S. v. Winstar ruling, which held the government liable for its handling of the savings-and-loan crisis.
As with the previous bobbleheads, distribution is limited to the law review's smallish subscription list. But they've become fixtures in a lot of top lawyers' and law professors' offices, and some even have turned up for sale on eBay, bringing in three-digit sales prices.
This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.