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He’s not exactly a seasoned comic, but University of Wisconsin Law School Professor Marc Galanter knows so many lawyer jokes he even has a joke about lawyer jokes. “A colleague asked me how many lawyer jokes there are. I told him just three-the rest are documented case histories,” Galanter gibed during a tour promoting his new book, Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture. “We have 500-year-old lawyer jokes still in circulation and most of them go back at least 100 years,” he said. “But around the 1980s, there was a great shift. They became much more hostile.” He said the animosity is a backlash to the increasing legal restrictions that have reached into American life. Galanter said the historical lawyer jokes have two basic themes: They are greedy, and they are smooth-talkers. More recent jokes depict lawyers as immoral cheats and objects of scorn. Still, there’s precedent for it. Galanter gave an example of a 300-year-old lawyer joke: A lawyer goes to the doctor, complaining of back pain that prevents him from sleeping. When the lawyer asks which side should he lie on, the doctor replies, “Whichever side pays you.” -Associated Press Ardor in the court You’d think they’d never seen an appellant before. Huge crowds packed the U.S. Supreme Court and several photographers were knocked to the ground in their zeal to get a picture when Anna Nicole Smith showed up pursuing a piece of her late husband’s fortune. Court observers marveled at the display. Douglas Baird, a bankruptcy expert at the University of Chicago, said: “I’d suspect some justices haven’t the slightest idea who Anna Nicole is.” Maybe not, but with an oil fortune on the line, several justices signalled sympathy for the one-time Playboy playmate’s case, which involves an unusual conflict of probate and bankruptcy jurisdictions and a soap opera of family dynamics. “It’s quite a story,” said Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who noted there was evidence that her stepson hired private detectives to keep Smith away from her elderly husband’s bedside. Smith married oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II in 1994, when he was 89 and she was a 26-year-old topless dancer in Texas. Marshall died the following year. His fortune has been estimated at as much as $1.6 billion. As Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. noted, the case involved “a substantial amount of assets.” Smith, known for her flashy, cleavage-revealing outfits, watched from near the back of the court, dressed in black. Her lawyers said she was in tears during part of the argument when justices discussed her late husband. Smith’s claim is simple, said Justice David H. Souter: “Just give me the money I would have had.” -Associated Press Coming to HBO A small-town judge with three wives was ordered removed from the bench by the Utah Supreme Court for violating the state’s bigamy law. Walter Steed has served for 25 years on the Justice Court in the polygamist community of Hildale in southern Utah, where he ruled on misdemeanor crimes such as drunken driving and domestic violence cases. Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. “When the law is violated or ignored by those charged by society with the fair and impartial enforcement of the law, the stability of our society is placed at undue risk,” the court said. -Associated Press

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