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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bobbleheads Open House - Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the prize drawings from the bobbleheads exhibit open house! The main drawing, for a bobblehead of Supreme Court justice David Brewer (1837-1910), was won by Franklin Rosenberg. Among other case references, the Brewer figure stands at a washtub, representing his opinion in Muller v. Oregon (1908) that limited the hours women could work.  Great thanks to The Green Bag and its editor, Professor Ross Davies, for the Brewer bobblehead.

Equal congratulations to Alex Galle-From and Nick Muellerleile, the winners of the Roberts Challenge. The Challenge asked participants to correctly identify case references on the newest Supreme Court bobblehead, that of Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. The identifications were: a) the broccoli held in Roberts's left hand; b) the crab near his left foot; and c) the reference to "oysters and raisins" on the base of the bobblehead. Mr. Galle-From and Mr. Muellerleile's correct entries were selected from a drawing.

The answers to the puzzle are as follows: a) National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. In the Chief Justice's majority opinion, broccoli is referenced 12 times, most memorably as "the broccoli horrible," the hypothetical specter of a mandate to purchase the green vegetable. The crab refers to: b) FCC v. AT&T, a case in which Roberts noted that adjectival meanings of words, like "crabbed," may differ from their noun roots (i.e., crab). Finally, and interestingly for us, is c) Horne v. Department of Agriculture, a case that centered on the Takings Clause. In his opinion, Roberts distinguished "oysters" from "raisins" by observing that raisins were the fruits of Horne's labor, whereas oysters were "ferae naturae," or of a wild nature, belonging to the state. The government ultimately had to compensate Horne for a taking (by remitting a large fine).  

The principle that some animals are "of a wild nature" and owned by the state is reflected in an early English case that we have in our rare books collection. In The Case of Swans (1592), the royal court found the swans at issue were "ferae naturae," and thus could not be acquired by transfer or prescription. They were also "Royal fowl," owned by the Queen.     

   - Ryan Greenwood, Curator of Rare Books and Special Collections     


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