Shapiro v. Ikea

NPR listeners should be getting to know legal reporter Ari Shapiro by now. Sure, he hasn't been covering the courts as long as Nina Totenberg, but he's working hard to catch up. Maybe too hard, given his offering today for the blog. Is this a cry for help, or what?

For the last few weeks I've been helping Nina Totenberg cover the end of the Supreme Court's term. Over the weekend, I spent several grueling hours trying to assemble two dressers from Ikea. (Being the technical whiz kid that I am, I put pieces in the wrong place and broke the dressers in several places before they finally reached some semblance of completion.)

Last night, my two worlds collided.

I dreamed that the Supreme Court handed down an unusual ruling. Instead of interpreting the Constitution, the justices reinterpreted Ikea's assembly manuals. I had to disassemble the dressers and put them back together again in a way that conformed to the court's new standard. Maybe not as difficult as rewriting the rules for Guantanamo detainee war crimes trials, but I woke up covered in sweat nonetheless. What does this all mean? Who wrote the majority opinion? Who dissented? What are the political implications of this ruling?

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