Texas Supreme Court cites Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012

In something that seems like gag from a Big Bang Theory spec script that never got made, it appears that the Texas Supreme Court has taken a page from the Vulcan Academy of Jurisprudence.

Techdirt and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association report that the Texas Supreme Court opinion Robinson v. Crown Cork and Seal refers to the dictum put forward by Mr. Spock in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Appropriately weighty principles guide our course. First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan 21), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.

Not content to contextualize Vulcan wisdom through Dickens and "contrarian" Texan identity, the opinion goes on to quote in footnote number 21:

See STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (Paramount Pictures 1982). The film references several works of classic literature, none more prominently than A Tale of Two Cities. Spock gives Admiral Kirk an antique copy as a birthday present, and the film itself is bookended with the book's opening and closing passages. Most memorable, of course, is Spock's famous line from his moment of sacrifice: "Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh..." to which Kirk replies, "the needs of the few."

It's hard to imagine what urgency could be brought up through a case involving cork and sealants, as opposed to dilithium crystals and the Genesis Device ... but it's nice to know that Vulcan logic can have some influence here on Earth.

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