26 March 2013

The parade of horribles

While reading Justice Ginsburg's dissent in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, I came across the phrase parade of horribles. I had seen this before in Supreme Court opinions, so I figured I'd check how often it has been used. As far as I can tell (via Westlaw), it's been used in 44 different Supreme Court opinions dating to 1948 (first used by Chief Justice Vinson in Shapiro v. United States, 335 U.S. 1). It wasn't used again until 1972, but then became more frequent since then (on average, about once a year).

Between all state and federal courts (at least to the extent that they're covered by Westlaw), parade of horribles has been used nearly 900 times (again, the Shapiro case being the first instance). Nearly 500 of those instances have been within the last 14 years.
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