Friday, May 21, 2010
To the chagrin of many mother-in-laws, a federal judge in New Jersey has ruled that the First Amendment protects mother-in-law jokes:
LOS ANGELES — A standup comedian who was sued for making mother-in-law jokes has had the last laugh after a federal judge threw the case out of court.
Sunda Croonquist, whose shtick for years has been to describe her life as a half-black, half-Swedish woman who marries into a Jewish family, was sued two years ago after her mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law said her jokes were holding them up to public ridicule.
In a 21-page ruling issued Friday, U.S. District
Judge Mary L. Cooper of
Many of the jokes, Cooper said, were clearly statements of opinion and not fact and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The cat-in-heat joke, the judge said, quoting from a previous court decision, was "colorful, figurative rhetoric that reasonable minds would not take to be factual."