Lighter Side
November 2nd, 1998

By Ed Zern

Excerpt from How To Catch Fishermen, (1951)

"Fishing the Gunnison River in Colorado one day, Larry Madison met a justice of the Supreme Court of a certain western state. The trout weren't moving, so they sat beside the stream a while and Larry asked the legalist how a man gets appointed to a state Supreme Court bench.

The judge said there were a number of factors governing such appointments, but offered one concrete suggestion to aspiring jurists. He said that while on a lower bench he had devised a compact little fly-tying kit, with a small vise which could be clamped onto to rostrum in such a position that it couldn't be seen by anyone else in the court. By hunching over and appearing to concentrate fiercely on the fine points of the case under argument, the judge had been able to turn out five or six carefully tied optic bucktails in the course of a day's session and still maintain a fairly good grasp of the proceedings.

Only on a few occasions, the judge said, did he become so absorbed in cocking the fan-wings on a dry fly at the proper angle that he completely lost the thread of the arguments advanced by the opposing lawyers; in these cases, the judge said, his verdicts were considered such models of objectivity, lucidity and jurisprudential wisdom that they came to the attention of the governor, who promptly appointed him to a vacancy in the highest court of the state." ~ Ed Zern

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