The U.S. Supreme Court and thigh-slapping humor. This may be the first time you held those two concepts in your brain at once, but it would not be the first for Ryan Malphurs, Ph.D. A jury communications consultant with Tara Trask & Associates, Malphurs has studied Supreme Court oral arguments of numerous cases and – surprisingly — found a thread of humor. He pulled and pulled on that thread and studied the role humor played in some major cases, such as Roe v. Wade (a case the substance of which comedian Sandra Berhardt said had eluded some ignorant soul, who thought it was a dispute over the best way to cross the Potomac). Yes, there was an opening one-liner from the attorney for the State of Texas in Roe v. Wade which sort of poked fun at – of all things – a woman’s role in society. To read more about what Malphurs found, you can read his book, Rhetoric and Discourse in Supreme Court Oral Arguments, which was published by Routledge Press. You can listen to Malphurs’ observations right now. Here he is in January on National Public Radio discussing the role and impact of humor in Supreme Court oral arguments, on “The Worst Joke Ever Told: The Role of Humor in Supreme Court Oral Arguments,” Life of the Law. And here he is interviewed on The Madeleine Brand Show, A Forensic Investigation on the Hilarity of the Supreme Court.