Court of Petty Appeals: Schmalzl Shmazzle v. VanderMeulen

Schmalzl Shmazzle v. VanderMeulen


936 U.Va. 492 (2019)


Shmazzle, C. J., (formerly Schmalzl, J.,) delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Pickett, Luk, and Elicegui, JJ., joined. VanderMeulen, J., filed a dissenting opinion.


Chief Justice Shmazzle delivered the opinion of the Court.




Not too long ago, former Chief Justice VanderMeulen[1] was the dictator of this Court. During his tenure, other Justices on the Court often found themselves joining opinions they’d never actually read, filing dissents they’d never actually written, and acting at the whim of “the King.” Now that I have taken control, I am going to lay to rest the wrongs he committed against me.[2] Only one such wrong is worth addressing today, for it was so great and so burdensome that no other can rightfully be tackled along with it.


As some of you may know, I entered this Court during February of 2017, eager to help decide all the petty problems that UVA Law students need litigated. The first opinion I joined was on April 11, 2018, Streit v. Students, 654 U.Va. 183 (2017), and I proudly signed off as Justice Shmazzle. The name stems from my first cold call in 1L, when an unnamed professor[3] spent extravagant time and effort trying, but never succeeding, to say my (admittedly vowel-deficient) name correctly. My sectionmates rallied behind me in support,[4] turning the trauma into a wonderful memory that I will forever hold dear. In dedication to them, I used this variation of my last name during my first year on the Court, serving as a reminder of how far I’d come since that fateful day.


Then one day, the name was ripped away from me. At the start of the 2018–19 school year, Chief Justice VanderMeulen decided using my given last name, Schmalzl, was “easier” and “good for the paper.” As his powerless minion, I sat in silence at his decision. Until now. There’s a new sheriff in town, and I’m taking my name back.


The former Chief Justice raises several defenses to his decisions, which I address in turn.






To start, VanderMeulen contends that I don’t have jurisdiction over a case in which I am a party due to ancient principles of the common law,[5] blah blah blah. My response is two-fold. First, VanderMeulen assumes this Court follows some version of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Such a notion is laughable, as this Court doesn’t follow any rules.[6] Second, even if there were some jurisdictional issue, it is well known that our readers are deeply dedicated to frequent opinions issued by this Petty Court. And because this Court has received no recent complaints to decide upon, I can do whatever I want. And even if we had received recent complaints, I still can do whatever I want. I’m the boss. Defense denied.




Next, VanderMeulen claims he had “good policy reasons” for forcing me to change my name. He claims that Shmazzle was “unrecognizable” and “no one would know who [I was],” and that therefore my good name would be wasted as a recruiting tool. To this I ask: Really? You think people can’t connect “Shmazzle” and “Schmalzl”? We’re at a top-ten law school for goodness sake, give these people some credit.[7]


Additionally, I would like to point out that other justices on this Court have used “unrecognizable” names and were not forced to change their identities. While I only know of just one, it’s a pretty good one and I rely heavily on it as precedent. Justice ScaLIA, Lia-Michelle Keane ’18, was a true inspiration to the creative minds among us. People may not have known instantly who she was, but man could she issue a damn good opinion. To force me to change my name forever is to insult the incredible minds of those who came before us. For this, I will not stand.




Finally, the dearly departed Chief states some garbage about how it’s “not a big deal” and that I should just “calm down.” [Please note that the defendant vehemently denies stating such a defense. While this Court acknowledges that he did not actually make these statements, I am on my soap box and feel the need to address all men who feel that telling a woman to “calm down” is ever, in any circumstance, a good idea. Plus, if SCOTUS can drone on about pointless topics in its opinions, then this Court certainly can too.]


This Court, in its official capacity, refutes this argument and urges VanderMeulen/all men to consider how foolish it is to tell a woman to “calm down.” Women are always calm, rational, correct, and should never be questioned. See Goluboff, Kendrick, and All the Inspirational Women Who Run All the Dang Student Orgs v. All Those Who Try to Stand in Their Way, 798 U.Va. 606 (2016). VanderMeulen should carry this tidbit of wisdom with him for the rest of his days or else risk a life of conflict with all the badass, independent women who don’t need no man to tell them what to do.




In conclusion, the Court hereby orders that I change my name back to what it is meant to be: Justice Shmazzle. Further, this Court enjoins Justice VanderMeulen from mentioning the word “dairy” for 48 hours as punitive damages for his wrongs against this Court. Seriously, the dairy jokes are udderly embarrassing and really could be beefed up a bit. He can no longer steer the paper with his silly milk references.


Petitioner’s (aka my) prayer for relief is hereby GRANTED.


It’s good to be Queen.


It is so ordered.


Justice VanderMeulen, dissenting.


I’ll admit I didn’t think out the whole “force your likely successor to change her court name” thing as well as I should have.



[1] May his soul rest in peace.

[2] I would help the others, but TBH I don’t think anyone but me cared because they “liked” and “respected” Mr. VanderMeulen. While I withhold judgment of my learned colleagues, I disagree with such kind feelings toward the tyrant.

[3] Who loves mental furniture.

[4] Section Ayeee foreverrrrr.

[5] He uses in his brief the extremely pretentious Latin phrase “Nemo judex in causa sua” which only makes us like him less.

[6] Except, of course, Petty Rule of Civil Procedure 1: “We do what we want.”

[7]  Please note that the Court does not heavily weigh the actions of students who participate in Dandelion when it makes this statement regarding everyone’s intellectual abilities.