You would think the Supreme Court has better things to do with its time than determine if a fisherman should be prosecuted under Wall Street regulatory law for throwing out too-small fish and thereby “destroying evidence.” They apparently don’t. Beyond that, to add insult to injury, Justice Elena Kagan cited Dr. Seuss in this very same case:
In 2007 in Florida, law enforcement officials confronted fisherman John Yates, saying he had caught several red groupers that were too small. Mr. Yates then tossed the fish overboard. But he was charged under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which sought to punish the destruction of physical evidence in wake of the Enron scandal where accountants shredded thousands of documents.
In a 5-4 decision announced Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was meant to apply only to records or information documents.
But in her dissent, Justice Kagan argued that fish should be included in the “tangible object” category of evidence the law describes.
“A fish is, of course, a discrete thing that possesses physical form,” she wrote. “See generally Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960).”
Part of me wants to think Kagan was pointing out how frivolous this whole dispute is. Except that she was writing for the dissenting opinion that Yates should actually be charged with the destruction of evidence.
Honestly, this whole thing is just too ridiculous. Apparently the court actually considered the nature of a fish during deliberation, even considering whether or not a fish with information carved into its scales would then be considered a “document.” Seriously.
So I guess, in that kind of context, it only makes perfect sense that Kagan would cite Dr. Seuss. Why not, right? He is a doctor, after all. People always trust doctors and scientists. And the only person people trust more is a judge. Oh wait.