U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is skeptical that starlet and lawyer-aspirant Kim Kardashian was robbed at gunpoint in Paris.
Breyer broke with his preferred professorial prolixity at oral argument about a bank fraud statute in Shaw v. United States on Tuesday to throw shade at Kim K, who claims armed men stormed the private residence where she was staying for Paris Fashion Week, and made off with two cell phones and approximately $10 million worth of jewelry.
“Even Kardashian’s thief, if there is one, believes that all that jewelry is insured. Indeed over insured. So it’s not theft?” he asked, setting the scene for one of his hypotheticals. (RELATED: Kim Kardashian Held At Gunpoint And Robbed In Paris)
In Shaw, the justices are asked to decide whether a scheme to defraud a financial institution requires an intent to deceive and cheat said bank. In this case, petitioner Lawrence Shaw stole $300,000 from the checking account of his landlord, Stanley Hsu, by opening a PayPal account in Hsu’s name, accessing his bank using monthly statements mailed to the house, and transferring money to the fund. Though no bank was injured by the theft, Shaw was convicted of bank fraud.
Shaw’s lawyers argue that a conviction for bank fraud requires intent to defraud the financial institution itself. In probing the position, Breyer used Kardashian’s alleged robbery to demonstrate that Shaw’s argument is the equivalent of saying that the theft of an insured item is not actually theft.
I’m asking you, if the local person comes to the door and says, dear Miss Kardashian, I am your local jewelry cleaner. Please give me your jewelry. She does. And that’s not fraud.
I would have always thought from the first year of law school, criminal law, that that was fraud, but perhaps I was wrong. So I would like you to explain it.
The reference to pop culture sensationalism is rare for the august chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court. Doubtless the hypothetical will renew debate as to who the Court’s hippest justice is, an honorarium firmly in the possession of Justice Elena Kagan as of this writing.
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