US Supreme Court judges convene to discuss boring bank fraud statute — discuss Kim Kardashian robbery instead

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By Katie King on

It’s all anyone wants to talk about


A justice sitting on the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) bench has used Kim Kardashian to explore the legal intricacies of a boring bank fraud statute.

It’s not a sentence we thought we’d ever read either but, while hearing a case yesterday, associate justice Stephen Breyer (pictured top right for those not down with pop culture) couldn’t help but turn his attention to one of the biggest news stories of the week: the Kim Kardashian jewellery heist.

American/Armenian socialite Kardashian was reportedly the victim of an armed robbery in Paris this week. Though the reality star has remained silent on social media since the alleged attack, it is understood she was tied up and held at gunpoint by five masked men who took millions of pounds worth of jewellery from her. No one has been arrested.

The story is all anyone wants to talk about at the moment. Some spectators have reprimanded Kardashian for flaunting her flashy lifestyle on Instagram and other social networks, while others have questioned whether the alleged attack was an inside job or even a publicity stunt.

Even the legal profession is interested — one riled QC described the model, who is married to Kanye West, as a “waste of space”.

And then there’s Breyer. He’s been in court this week hearing the case of Shaw, which is about the following issue:

Whether, in the bank-fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1344, subsection (1)’s “scheme to defraud a financial institution” requires proof of a specific intent not only to deceive, but also to cheat, a bank, as nine circuits have held, and as petitioner argued here.

Sounds thrilling, but not thrilling enough to distract the bench from the Kardashian robbery saga. It is rumoured that watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians while in court is sort of frowned upon in judicial circles, so Breyer decided to throw in a couple of Kim K references into proceedings instead.

Spicing up yesterday’s oral arguments about the effect of insurance on the law of theft, Breyer asked:

Even Kardashian’s thief, if there is one, believes that all that jewellery is insured. Indeed over insured. So it’s not theft?

Continuing his back and forth with Koren Bell, deputy federal public defender, he later said:

I’m asking you, if the local person comes to the door and says, dear Miss Kardashian, I am your local jewellery cleaner. Please give me your jewelry. She does. And that’s not fraud.

It was reported just last month that Kardashian has been considering following in the footsteps of her father, Robert, and going to law school. Legal Cheek speculates whether this week’s events will impact on her decision.

Read the transcript in full below: