March 14, 2017

Fun Facts About "My Cousin Vinny"

Mental Floss lists 29 "Fun Facts" about the film My Cousin Vinny, and indeed they are fun to read. I would point out, with regard to number 23, that the film has made it into more than one textbook. Along with several other films, it's included and discussed at length in the "Witnesses" chapter of Law and Popular Culture: Text, Notes, and Questions (2d ed., Lexis/Nexis & Carolina Academic Press, 2012).

MCV has recently been quite the film of interest, because of a DC Circuit ruling, U.S. v. Bronstein, issued this month. 

Turning to the facts here, a person of ordinary intelligence could read this law and understand that, as a member of the Supreme Court’s oral argument audience, making disruptive public speeches is clearly proscribed behavior—even in staccato bursts, seriatim. And yet, in a coordinated fashion, each Appellee is alleged to have directed a variation of the same message to the Justices of the Supreme Court and the assembled audience. Their coordinated standing, facing the bench, and messaging indicate the Appellees were addressing the Court and gallery. Cf. MY COUSIN VINNY (20th Century Fox 1992) (Judge Chamberlain Haller: “Don’t talk to me sitting in that chair! . . . When you’re addressing this court, you’ll rise and speak to me in a clear, intelligible voice.”). Viewed objectively, these alleged acts could easily be considered speeches to a public assembly that tended to disrupt the Court’s operations—conduct covered by § 6134’s prohibition of “make a harangue or oration.” 

More about this ruling from the National Law Journal here and from the Wall Street Journal here. 

No comments: