“Judge Alex” may get good review on his TV faux court show, but he faced decidedly poor review before real justices on the Supreme Court. Alex Ferrer’s contract dispute with an artists’ manager, Arnold Preston, made it to the Supreme Court this week and most justices appeared to reject the TV judge’s claims in the contract dispute.
I cannot say that I has ever heard of Judge Alex but as a this column indicates, I have a very low regard for such faux jurists and their impact on the public’s view of the law. Ferrer has a syndicated court show on Fox.
Ferrer’s contractual claim seems quite weak. Ferrer wants to avoid arbitration under a contract that allows Preston to receive 12 percent of a contract. His contract stipulates such arbitration but Ferrer argues that California regulation of talent agents permits the state agency to review the legality of the contract. It comes down to both the binding elements of the arbitration clause and the preemption of the federal arbitration law over such state rules. Ferrer claims that Preston is not a licensed talent agent and that state law required that the contract be reviewed by the agency.
Notably, Justice Scalia cited his time as a law professor to question Ferrer’s claims: “I used to teach contract law,” Justice Antonin Scalia said. “And I am sure that when you say you’ll arbitrate, it means you won’t litigate.”
The justices seems to take Ferrer’s lawyer to task over his bald assertion that Preston is unlicensed. G. Eric Brunstad, faced questioning by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and others who noted that Preston says that he is licensed and Brunstad admitted that his brief should have been more clear on the point.
This discrepancy led Justice Anthony Kennedy to ask, “Shouldn’t we view with some skepticism what you tell us?”
Of course, there is ample grounds for skepticism when dealing with any faux judge. Perhaps the exchange will lead to a new Fox show, “When Justices Attack.”
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