Nearly 50 years I sat in my dorm room at Smith College (yes, Smith – it’s a long story), writing history papers while listening to Let It Bleed cranked up to 11 through my headphones.
Those were the days.
So it was more than a little sobering to read the first paragraph of a recent D.C. Circuit opinion. Written by Judge Janice Rogers Brown, the opinion in Stop This Insanity, Inc. v. FEC begins:
What does it say when your enfant terrible role model – Mr. Let’s Spend the Night Together, Mr. Sympathy for the Devil, Mr. “Let’s hire Hell’s Angels to be our security guards for $500 worth of beer” – has become source material for the D.C. Circuit, and “iconic” source material, at that?
For sure, it says that, as Mick knew all along, time was on his side.
For the rest of us, it says that getting old is . . . well, to borrow another Mick-ism, it’s a bitch.
But let’s put our hands together for Judge Brown. By dipping into the Stones songbook for a right-on reference that is immediately accessible, she demonstrated that effective legal writing does not require arcane Latin phrases or erudite polysyllables to get the point across. To the contrary, sometimes you need look no farther than your vinyl collection to come up with a righteous, and comprehensible, turn of phrase.
So here’s to you, Your Honor – you may not have blown our noses, but for sure, you blew our minds.