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Q: where in the Bible does the Book of Nephi appear? Hah! Trick question! As any divinity student could tell you, there actually are two books by that name and they are contained not in the Bible, but in the Book of Mormon. Yong Ting Yan isn’t a seminarian. He is a Chinese citizen seeking asylum in the United States on the ground that he was persecuted as a Christian. And so he found himself at a loss when, during a hearing before a Denver immigration judge, a Department of Homeland Security attorney asked the Nephi question of him during what the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals would later describe as a “mini-catechism.” The Denver-based appeals court said that to the extent Yan missed questions put to him through an interpreter, the immigration judge concluded he wasn’t really a Christian, while “[t]o the extent he was able to answer the questions, the IJ concluded that Mr. Yan had been coached,” and so refused asylum. In fact, Yan didn’t do too badly. The 10th Circuit noted that he was up on his Beatitudes, could name the first four books of the Bible and knew that the Psalms were King David’s songs to God. So it took him a minute to recall that Easter concerns resurrection; that was “a slender reed indeed on which to make an adverse credibility finding,” Circuit Judge Michael W. McConnell wrote, “particularly given the fact that ‘Easter’ is itself an English word referring to a festival of pagan origin and appears nowhere in the foundational document of Christianity, the Bible.” The appeal court cast out the immigration judge’s removal order. Got his Irish up Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a scathing letter to the editor of the Boston Herald, accused the newspaper’s staff of watching “too many episodes of the Sopranos” for interpreting a hand gesture he made as obscene. The Boston Herald reported that the justice made “an obscene gesture, flicking his hand under his chin” in reply to a question about whether lawyers might doubt his impartiality in matters of church and state. The incident occurred after he attended Mass at Boston’s Cathedral of the Holy Cross. Scalia said in his letter that the gesture is not obscene at all, but dismissive. Scalia said he had explained the gesture’s meaning to no avail to the reporter, whom he referred to as “an up-and-coming ‘gotcha’ star.” To back his interpretation of the gesture, Scalia quoted from Luigi Barzini’s book, The Italians: “The extended fingers of one hand moving slowly back and forth under the raised chin means ‘I couldn’t care less. It’s no business of mine. Count me out.’ “ Scalia said the reporter concluded his gesture was offensive because he initially explained, “That’s Sicilian.” “From watching too many episodes of the Sopranos, your staff seems to have acquired the belief that any Sicilian gesture is obscene-especially when made by an ‘Italian jurist.’ (I am, by the way, an American jurist.),” he wrote. -Associated Press Bummer, man In what must be described as a cheeky move, designer Joanne Slokevage asked the U.S. Patent Office to register her trade dress concept on pants with two cut-out areas exposing small parcels of each side of the wearer’s rump, and with a “Flash Dare!” label obscuring any potentially offending cleavage. The trademark examiner declined, somehow concluding that the clothing configuration is not inherently distinctive. So Slokevage went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where a panel actually managed to write an entire opinion, including an illustration, without resorting to cheap shots or bum puns. Instead, the court simply found that her trade dress-including the two-cheek exposure-was a product design that “is not unitary.”- Staff reports

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