Is Poetic Justice Wright Or Nott?

justice

In the December 1904 issue of Green Bag, Vol. 16, there is an amusing account through poetry chronicling the aftermath of a court case. When the Court of Clams passed a judgment in the case of Harvey Steel Company v. United States, by a majority of four out of five judges, the majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Nott while Justice Wright wrote a dissenting opinion. Lincoln B. Smith composed the following poem as a dedication to Justice Wright:

That Wright is Wright and Nott is Nott
Logicians must concede.
That Nott is right and Wright is not
Four judges have decreed.

That Nott is right, and Wright is not,
We all must now agree;
Then Nott is right and Wright is Nott–
The same thing, to a t.

If Nott is Nott and Wright is Nott,
It comes without a wrench
That we have not, if not two Notts,
Five judges on the bench.

If only four, as shown before,
And three agree with Nott,
The judgment is unanimous,
And Wright’s dissent is naught.

The knot is not, is Nott not Nott?
But is Wright right, or Nott?
Is Nott not right? What right has Wright
To write that Nott is not?
Do I do right to write to Wright
This most unrighteous rot?

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is edmarklaw@learnfunfacts.com

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