The Verdict

BY

In the Cambridge review system, HLS students are represented by one arrogant and all-important panel:a pretentious Chief Justice and two associate justices who are vying for her job.

IN RE UNIVERSITY WINE SHOP, 117 REC. 9 (2003)

Chief Justice PETTINATO announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion of the Court in which Justice DICK joined.

I. “Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of temperance.” A member of this Court, in a state of panic, scribbled that sentence on the top of her legal pad not too long ago, next to the heading “Constitutional Law Class Notes: Things I Already Know.” It guides our journey through this difficult decision.

II. At least according to the majority, the facts of this case are not in dispute. A member of this Court who usually finds her constitutional law class too mundane to attend decided on a whim to try it out to see if she could learn anything new. With five minutes left before the class ended, or, to put it in student language, twenty-five games of Spider Solitaire later, the professor made this troubling statement that deserves to be quoted in full: “If everyone will read for tomorrow the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited ‘the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors,’ so we can discuss how the later Twenty-First . . . blah blah blah.” That Court member immediately fled class and told an associate justice the horrific news: alcohol is illegal. Both justices quickly bought constitutional law casebooks and read for themselves the damning words that “intoxicating liquors” were banned from the United States by a constitutional amendment. But what about a store like University Wine Shop that continues to sell alcohol despite this prohibition? This Court decided to settle the issue of whether University Wine Shop is worthy of a student’s limited time and money.

III. Before ruling on an issue that defines the very essence of what it means to be a law student, the Court felt compelled to study further this so-called “Constitution.” The Court decided to immerse itself in the issue by studying our constitutional law textbook at Cambridge Commons over vodka tonics disguised as sparkling spring water so as not to draw attention to this local speakeasy. Ten vodka tonics later, the Court realized this so-called “Constitution” was written in hopelessly archaic language and a higher authority would need to be consulted. Strapped for cash the majority called upon a “friend of the Court” to lend us his Gilbert outline on constitutional law. As we searched for the offending amendment, the majority discovered a little known and rarely used constitutional provision known as the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Surely James K. Polk would roll over in his grave if he saw the way that the document he authored was being drained of its meaning like one of the fine bottles of Captain Morgan the Eighteenth Amendment was attempting to pry from the clenched, rum-thirsty hand of the American people. As the Chief Justice bemoaned in her diary (which she called “I Drink Therefore I Am”): “Since when can an amendment change the very language of the Constitution?” After six cups of coffee and three hours of sleep in the shower, the majority realized that the answer to this question is simple, “It cannot.” Thus we declare the Eighteenth Amendment unconstitutional.

IV. Not satisfied with only finding one way to declare the Eighteenth Amendment an “abomination unto God,” and, thus, worthy of a good smite, the Court ventured into the badlands: the fourth floor of Langdell. Talking loudly about the misspelled English words that are engraved near the ceiling while drinking, appropriately enough, a Sam Adams in tribute to our second president, the Court stumbled upon an obscure document known as the “Declaration of Independence.” Although we don’t normally resort to international law, the Britain who wrote this document seemed like one smart cookie. After briefly scanning the first paragraph, the Court could not find a specific reference to a right to drink alcohol. However, the specific guarantees in the “Declaration” have penumbras formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. We interpret those penumbras to include an inalienable right to get wasted. Therefore, we again declare the Eighteenth Amendment unconstitutional and use as our authority this 1776 document.

V. The Court finds that University Wine Shop is free of its Eighteenth Amendment bondages. We implore all law students to rush and buy a bottle of Captain Morgan and toast this Court that recognized public intoxication as a fundamental right.

VI. It is so ordered.

Justice TORRES, dissenting.

I must admit to some confusion at my unlearned colleagues’ decision today. While I realize they were heavily intoxicated when they wrote this opinion, that still does not explain their utter lack of knowledge as to the state of the law. I could go on about the impropriety of judges making law while drunk, or making law solely to justify personal vices, or how this decision should throw into serious doubt every other decision my colleagues ever come to. I could do that. But I won’t.

Instead, I simply quote:

Amendment XXI:

“Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any state, territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several states, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the states by the Congress.”

The only thing I would add is to actually comment on University Wine Shop, something my colleagues fail to do in their long-winded drunken rant. Being a perpetually sober individual, I cannot speak as to their offerings of liquor. I will say, however, that I like the kitty that inhabits the store.

It’s cute!

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