We recently asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo of a legally themed bookshelf:

Based on the reader voting, which caption won the contest? Sadly, it wasn’t my favorite….

Before announcing the winner, let’s reveal the backstory behind this contest. The bookcase in question belongs to a friend of mine — a law student at the time of the photo, and now a law clerk — with really great abs. I was amused by his diverse interests and couldn’t resist grabbing some photographic evidence (used in this contest with his permission).

Both he and I voted for the last caption (“this would explain why Joey kept referring to ‘Younger Abs Tension’ on his Fed Courts exam”), a great pun referring to the Younger abstention doctrine. But it seems that the two of us are bigger Fed Courts geeks than the ATL readership, which voted for the following caption in overwhelming numbers:

Two books for sale, never used. Contact Elie Mystal c/o ATL.

This caption is funny too — and as one commenter noted, it echoes the famous six-word novel that’s attributed (perhaps erroneously) to Ernest Hemingway: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

But which are the “[t]wo books” that have never been used? Note that the photo contains three identifiable books (affiliate links): The Complete Book of Abs, The Federal Courts and the Federal System, and Restoring the Lost Constitution, by Professor Randy Barnett (of Georgetown Law and Obamacare-challenge fame). Professor Barnett declared on Twitter that being included in an ATL caption contest is an honor that’s “up there with being cited by SCOTUS!”

Thanks to everyone for suggesting comments and for voting. If you wrote the winning caption, feel free to email us, subject line “Caption Contest Winner,” to claim your prize (an Above the Law t-shirt).

Earlier: Caption Contest Finalists: Shelf Registration
Caption Contest: Shelf Registration


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