Today learned students of the law we consider a parable from Ambrose Bierce’s Fantastic Fables:
An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was sitting by a river when a Traveler approached and said: “I wish to cross. Will it be lawful to use this boat?”
“It will,” was the reply; “it is my boat.”
The Traveler thanked him, and pushing the boat into the water embarked and rowed away. But the boat sank and he was drowned.
“Heartless man!” said an idignant spectator. “Why did you not tell him that the boat had a hole in it?”
“The matter of the boat’s condition,” said the great jurist, “was not brought before me.”
Another effective way to avoid making a decision is to conclude that the court has no ‘standing’.