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Song Parodies -> "Supremes Review"

Original Song Title:

"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

Original Performer:

Gordon Lightfoot

Parody Song Title:

"Supremes Review"

Parody Written by:

Richard Murphy

The Lyrics

A point that is sore in American law
Is the role of “Judicial Review”.
As a concept in law it is simple but bold -
The Supreme Court may all laws review.
Such a concept had ne’er been established before
The court ruled in Marbury v Madison;
And by throwing poor Marbury under the bus
The judicial review war was won.

That case gave the court a chance to set down
A significant new precedent.
That would guide and constrain lower and future courts - ,
Exactly John Marshall’s intent.
Justice Marshall foresaw that by casting a law
As subject to judicial review,
He gave courts much more weight to whatever they state
Making it hard to undo.
In pre Civil War days the court ruled ‘gainst Dred Scott,
Lending support to slave owners.
In the nineteen thirties it killed most of the laws
Enacted by liberal the New Dealers..
So the president claimed that the New Deal was dead,
And he placed all the blame on the Court.
His bids to dismantle or pack the Court failed,
But a long nasty battle was fought.

Nowadays rulings are apt to be made
Along lines that are highly political.
Nuetrality’s gone, there’s no pretense at all,
And the style is ever more cynical.
Since they sit on the bench ‘til their last dying day
Each nominee triggers a fight.
And the Senate cares less if they’re dim or they’re bright,
Than whether they’re left or they’re right.

A nominee’s past is extracted and searched
For clues how they’ll vote on the court.
All sides proclaim strict construction their goal;
Since they all know what Jefferson thought.
Nominees learn to be agile and deft,
Evading each new litmus test.
On abortion or gun rights or federal rules
Evasion and vagueness are best.

Scalia, the current great mind on the bench,
With Thomas, hold down the far right.
While Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sotomayor
Hang tough on the left in each fight.
Alito and Roberts are G.O.P. picks,
While Kagan was Obama’s choice.
Which leaves only Breyer and Kennedy free
To give the lost middle a voice.

The court as it now stands is edge without core;
Two ends with no center to hold.
Each year in October the battle is joined,
And hearings and rulings unfold.
As to whether or not justice is being served
Depends mostly on point of view.
Either way, credit or blame can be traced
To Marshal’s judicial review.


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Pacing: 4.7
How Funny: 4.0
Overall Rating: 4.3

Total Votes: 3

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User Comments

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Michael Pacholek - December 03, 2012 - Report this comment
It wouldn't be an official "Wreck" parody if I didn't at least comment, and this one was a little weak, and historically wrong. Marbury won his case. Quite a bit of the New Deal survived SCOTUS challenges, and FDR didn't say the New Deal was dead -- though he did eventually say that Dr. New Deal had to give way to Dr. Win the War.
Richard Murphy - December 03, 2012 - Report this comment
i am not sure what you mean by an "official Wreck parody You are correct re Marbury. Marshall threw his old boss Madison under the bus. "Dead" may be extreme, but the rhyme worked ; and FDR said: "But since the rise of the modern movement for social and economic progress through legislation, the Court has more and more often and more and more boldly asserted a power to veto laws passed by the Congress and by state legislatures in complete disregard of this original limitation which I have just read. In the last four years the sound rule of giving statutes the benefit of all reasonable doubt has been cast aside. The Court has been acting not as a judicial body, but as a policymaking body. " Discuss whether FDR is really trying to hide what he was

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