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Thursday, July 19, 2012

No Fury like a Lawyer Judged Less Beautiful, Robert Laughlin

Miss New Jersey was crowned the winner of the first Miss American Lawyer Beauty Pageant. The competition was on a Sunday night, and by Monday afternoon, every one of the losers had filed litigation in the jurisdiction of the pageant.

Miss New York alleged regional bias because three of the five judges lived in New Jersey. Miss Minnesota, a still somewhat mannish-looking recipient of sex change surgery, contested the absence of transgendered persons from the pool of judges. Miss Oklahoma maintained that the winner’s hairdo so resembled that of a current porn queen that it violated the pageant’s morals clause. Miss South Carolina also maintained that the hairdo violated the morals clause, but on the grounds that it was an illegal reproduction of the porn queen’s likeness. Miss Oregon, disqualified for marrying shortly before the competition, claimed that the entire pageant was a manifestation of illegal bias toward marital status. Miss Alaska and Miss Hawaii filed a joint action claiming that the East Coast venue of the competition unfairly disadvantaged them; they supposedly were drawn and haggard from jet lag. The remaining contestants joined in any of three class action suits: respectively, (1) by minority contestants claiming racial bias, (2) by redheaded contestants who wanted the winner’s crown held in escrow until the judges were all tested for color blindness, and (3) by contestants who couldn’t dance or sing very well, and wanted the talent competition stricken as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

All of the litigation failed. A clause in the pageant rules, similar to one found in many wills, stated that any contestant who brought legal action against the pageant would be considered as having predeceased it. Thus, Miss New Jersey was still the winner, by default, because no other contestant was alive at the time of the competition. The pageant’s sponsors agreed that the eliminated semifinalist who wrote the rules had earned her hefty fee.

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