Power Pop

06.13.13

Justice Kagan Dials Tommy Tutone’s ‘867-5309’ in Supreme Court Opinion

It can’t be a coincidence! The Supreme Court justice made a sly reference to the ’80s pop song in a decision released Thursday.

Tommy Tutone made the Supreme Court?

Oddly enough, yes. Justice Elena Kagan alluded to the power pop band’s 1982 hit “867-5309/Jenny” in a high-profile decision on Thursday. Kagan cited the famous phone number in her opinion for American Trucking Association v. City of Los Angeles, which stated that federal law specifically preempted an agreement between trucking companies and the Port of Los Angeles.

Kagan wrote:

“Under that contract, a company may transport cargo at the Port in exchange for complying with various requirements. The two directly at issue here compel the company to (1) affix a placard on each truck with a phone number for reporting environmental or safety concerns (You’ve seen the type: “How am I driving? 213-867-5309”) and (2) submit a plan listing off-street parking locations for each truck when not in service.” (emphasis added)

This is believed to be the first time Tommy Tutone has ever been cited by the Supreme Court. Previous court opinions have cited a variety of other pop-culture figures, including one famous case, Flood v. Kuhn, where Justice Harry Blackmun recited a long list of baseball players from Cap Anson to Cy Young, but this is believed to be the first one-hit wonder from the 1980s cited by the court.

Video screenshot