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Well, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000-2001 term is winding down. The court is issuing a string of vital decisions in all constitutional areas. The question for this month is whether you’ve been paying proper attention to these changes in constitutional doctrine. So, having weathered the PSAT, SAT, ACT, NMSQT, LSAT, MedCAT, GREs, BE (Bar Exam), whatever acronym they now use for the multistate ethics exam, MMPI, Beck Depression Scale and the Rorschach test, it’s time to see how well you do on the first annual Test of Ridiculous Useless Nerdy Knowledge about the U.S. Supreme Court. I’m hoping the major media organizations will pick up my soon-to-be copyrighted acronym TRUNK, but in the meantime let’s see how carefully you’ve been following those slip opinions. Question No. 1: The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a decision concerning the permissible uses of marijuana. In that case the court held: a. that the bogarting of a joint for any purpose was punishable as a criminal offense; b. only doctors may use marijuana; c. that random urine samples for drug-testing purposes were icky; or d. “Like, this is really great stuff, man! Let’s cruise over to the Jack in the Box and talk to the clown.” Question No. 2: The court also rendered a landmark decision concerning arbitration clauses in employment contracts. The court held: a. that those clauses are enforceable because employees have no rights; b. that those clauses are enforceable because employers have all the rights; c. that those clauses are enforceable because federal law takes away all rights employees used to have; or d. those clauses are enforceable because they originally applied to stockbrokers who caused all our Nasdaq holdings to tank, so we have no sympathy. Question No. 3: The court also was highly involved in politics this term. In one decision, the court upheld the constitutionality of a 60-mile, snake-shaped congressional district in North Carolina because: a. six of the nine justices had had snakes as pets while they were growing up; b. the other three justices were afraid of snakes; c. if the justices didn’t vote in favor of it, their position in Bush v. Gore would have looked that much worse; or d. there was only one person living in the district anyway, so it complied with the one person/one vote concept. Question No. 4: Speaking of Bush v. Gore, we all think we know what that case held, but what the justices really said was: a. candidates have a protected property interest in dimpled chads; b. the equal protection clause of the Constitution requires all major party candidates to dress alike; c. nearsighted persons may not be used to determine whether a chad was properly punched out; or d. no one in Florida could count that high anyway, so continuing the recount would have been futile. FORM AN ALLIANCE Question No. 5: It’s always instructive to see how alliances on the high court shift from term to term. Pick the statement that most aptly describes how the justices behaved this term: a. all agreed some of the time; b. some of them agreed all the time; c. some said “to-may-to” and others said “to-mah-to”; or d. some, or at least part, of the time most agree with three justices dissenting. Question No. 6: Turning to cases closer to home, the court upheld the arrest of a woman because she and her two children were not wearing their seat belts. The rationale for the court’s decision was: a. the officer heard the woman tell her children, “Justin, how many times have I told you no noogies in the car,” and therefore had probable cause to believe that violence would follow; b. the car had just exited a Krispy Kreme and the officer had probable cause to believe that the car contained tainted donuts; c. Lago Vista, the name of the town where the stop occurred, means “We don’t need no stinkin’ warrant” in English; or d. not everything stupid is unconstitutional. Time has expired. Put your pencils down. I mean that. Put ‘em down now! Don’t make me stop this column. It’s time to see how well you’ve done. The correct answer to each question is “d.” Yes, that’s right, “d.” If you got more than six questions right, you’ve obviously cheated because there are only six questions on the test. If you got five to six right, you’ve obviously got too much time on your hands. If you got three to four right, consider yourself “bored certified” in U.S. Supreme Court knowledge and expect a call from Fox News Network as an expert commentator. If you got one to two right, consider yourself normal. None right: Hey, why don’t we cruise over to the Jack in the Box and see what the justices are doing? Tom Alleman, a shareholder in the litigation section at Winstead Sechrest & Minick in Dallas, ate at a Howard Johnson’s after he took the LSAT. For that reason alone, it ought to be apparent that the opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of Winstead Sechrest & Minick, any of its clients or the Educational Testing Service.

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