Professor CivPro: And so what is the purpose of the "minimum contacts" test for exercising jurisdiction? [
] Anyone? What about you, Mr. Fahrenthold, what's the answer?
Me: Well, to protect the defendant from being called to litigate in a distant or inconvenient forum and to ensure that individual states don't overstep their constitutional bounds.
Prof: So it's the defendant's contacts that we judge as minimal?
Me: Um, yes.
Prof: There is no "um" in yes.
Prof: Yes, there is no "um" in yes, or yes that it's the defendant that we make reference to?
Prof: Fair enough. That seems obvious to me, though. Was it obvious to the entire Court as well?
Me: That there's no "um" in yes, or the other thing?
Prof: About the contacts.
Me: Well, in dissent, Justice Brennan takes the view that too much attention is paid to the defendants' contacts to the forum, and that a more permissive eye to the plaintiff's ties to both the state and the other party is warranted by "fairness."
Prof: Oh, so you're saying
Brennan and his trial lawyer-loving cronies on the Court are up to their old tricks?
Me: No, I said "permissive," not liberal.
Prof: But that's what you meant, right? I mean, we're talking about Brennan, the heir to Earl Warren and a President Kennedy appointee.
Me: Well, Justice Brennan was actually appointed by Eisenhower, a Republican, but I take your point.
Prof: Oh you do, do you?
Me: Yes, I do.
Prof: Well, I think you're brilliant, Chris. Congratulations, son, you just made Law Review.
Me: I did? Isn't there a write-on competition or something?
Prof: Yeah, but what the hell, I like you.
Me: Well, thank you, sir.
Prof: And here's a puppy for your trouble. His name's Barney.
Prof: I'll see you all next week. And take time to reflect on your classmate Chris' manifest brilliance.
Me: I also read Hemingway.
Prof: Oops, you just blew it, Chris. Don't overreach, nobody likes a gunner.
Me: But can I keep the puppy?
Prof: Hell no, you're back to square one with me. See you next class.