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Copyright (c) 2006 Akron Law Review 
Akron Law Review

ARTICLE: Antipodal Invective: A Field Guide to Kangaroos in American Courtrooms


39 Akron L. Rev. 73


Parker B. Potter, Jr.*


I. Introduction

Antipodes are "any two places or regions that are on diametrically opposite sides of the earth." 1 Go to the opposite side of the earth from where I sat while drafting this article and you will find, among other things, Australia. Go to Australia, and you will find kangaroos, by the thousands. Go to Westlaw, and you will find kangaroo courts, by the hundreds. 2

I ran a Westlaw search on the phrase "kangaroo court" after I discovered, while researching another article, 3 that Justice Bernard Levinson of the Hawai'i Supreme Court once described the process by which a hospital had revoked a physician's staff privileges as a "kafkaesque "kangaroo court.'" 4 After attempting, without success, to imagine a connection between the celebrated Czech author and the iconic Australian marsupial, 5 I decided on a whim to see how many other judges had used the phrase "kangaroo court" in an opinion. Expecting a couple of dozen, I went slackjawed when my whimsical Westlaw search boomeranged back with more than 375 state and federal judicial opinions stressing the seams of its sadly distended pouch. 6

Of those hundreds of opinions, several dozen arose out of the operation of courts "assembled by various groups, such as prisoners in a jail (to settle disputes between inmates) and players on a baseball team (to "punish' teammates who commit fielding errors)." 7 Those "real" kangaroo courts are the subject of another article. 8 Several dozen more opinions recounted ...
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