Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2016


"Think of the poor judge who is reading ... hundreds and hundreds of these briefs," says Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. "Liven their life up just a little bit. . . with something interesting." Lawyers can "liven up" their briefs with references to television shows generally known to Americans who have grown up watching the small screen. After discussing television's pervasive effect on American culture since the early 1950s, this Article surveys the array of television references that appear in federal and state judicial opinions. In cases with no claims or defenses concerning the television industry, judges often help explain substantive or procedural points with references to themes and fictional characters from well-known dramas or comedies. The courts' use of television references invites advocates to use these cultural markers in the briefs they submit



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