As reported by the American Bar Association in April, 2017, Bob Dylan is the most-cited songwriter or popular artist in judicial opinions in American history by American jurists. Such jurists include noted conservative US Supreme Court Justices John G. Roberts, Jr and Antonin Scalia.
American common law, i.e. law created or interpreted by the courts as opposed to legislative bodies, is governed by the legal principle of stare decisis. Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided”. In other words, courts do not re-decide issues already resolved by prior court decisions in higher or equal courts.
It is within these decisions that Judges and Justices cite Bob Dylan. For example, Chief Justice Roberts cited Dylan’s well known phrase “When you ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose” in a 2008 United States Supreme Court decision. Justice Scalia cited Dylan’s well known phrase “The-times-they-are-a-changing
Perhaps it is the sense of poetry, justice and even handedness demonstrated by Bob Dylan that resulted in his Nobel Prize in literature. These concepts are well demonstrated in Dylan’s song “Hurricane”, which described the wrongful conviction of the heavyweight boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who was eventually exonerated after spending almost 20 years in prison.
For more about legal decisions referencing Bob Dylan, read the full article in the ABA Journal. For any legal questions, contact Attorney Rolf Louis Patberg at 412-232-3500 or email Attorney Patberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.