Supreme Court Hears Right-to-Watch-World Series Case

WASHINGTON.  The World Series began tonight in Houston, but lawyers stepped to the plate earlier in the day to face a different team of nine–the members of the U.S. Supreme Court, who heard arguments on a legal issue that tears the nation apart every October:  Does the Constitution protect the right of male fans to watch the fall classic even if they have no rooting interest in either team involved?

Lawyers for Ray Duncan of Chillicothe, Ohio say yes, while advocates for his wife Lurleen say the Bill of Rights does not recognize a man’s right to watch the World Series if he is not a fan of either the Atlanta Brave or the Houston Astros.

“Men watching sports and scantily-clad pom-pom shaking women on TV is what makes this country great,” said former Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, now a line judge for professional women’s beach volleyball matches.

MacKinnon:  “You really should be watching Masterpiece Theatre.”


Feminist legal scholar Catherine MacKinnon wrote an op-ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times urging women to support a bill sponsored by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that would require men to hand the remote to their spouses as soon as their previously-designated “home team” was mathematically eliminated from contention.

Virginia Woolf:  “Can I at least watch A&E during the beer commercials?”


“The right of a woman to watch ‘disease-of-the-week’ movies on Lifetime, while not explicitly protected by the Bill of Rights, may be found within the subtext of the penumbras of the emanations of most Virginia Woolf novels,” MacKinnon wrote.

Jack Nicholson


A constitutional right to watch the World Series was first suggested in the Ken Kesey novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nurse.”   In the film version of the book, Jack Nicholson, playing the role of Randle Patrick McMurphy, rebels against a prohibition imposed by Nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher, and watches an imaginary World Series before a blank TV screen.

Starr:  “To get the best reception, you have to twist both knobs at the same time.”


The right has not subsequently been recognized by federal courts, although it has been defended by law school professors with too much time on their hands and cited without authority by husbands across the country once their home team is eliminated.  “Our forefathers fought and died for the right to watch baseball,” asserted Duncan, who is a long-suffering Cleveland Indians fan.  “Yes my team was eliminated, but does that mean I have to watch Grey’s Anatomy?”

Kagan: “I was hoping we could watch some ice skating for a change.”


Elena Kagan, one of three female justices on the high court, has spoken critically of a right to watch the World Series in speeches.  “Republican appointees on the Court who claim to be strict constructionists suddenly get all loosey-goosey when it’s about baseball,” she said in a commencement address at the Judge Wapner School of Law in Burbank, California, last spring.  “Whenever I want to watch ice skating the Chief Justice takes the remote away from me.”

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