[Today we begin a series — likely an occasional one — on an Extremely Serious Subject:  The efficiency of the federal courts in handling civil litigation.  This installment begins the journey.]

Rudyard Kipling‘s Just So Stories include the marvelous one about "The Elephant’s Child".  It tells how the elephant got its trunk. 

In what manner did he obtain it?  Kipling tells us that, because of Elephant Child’s "’satiable curiosity", he wanted to know what Crocodile eats for dinner.  Questing for and then finding the object of his interest, he believes Crocodile’s promise to whisper the answer and leans close to hear. 

But Crocodile means to devour him and so clamps toothy jaws on Elephant Child’s diminutive proboscis.  Elephant Child tries to pull away, and soon his friend the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake coils around his back legs and commences a-pulling too.  The double-teaming works, separating Elephant Child from hungry Crocodile, but not before stretching the pachydermous pug to five feet and more.

If we stop here, we would think that Kipling intended a cautionary tale about nosiness.  But the author of The Jungle Book, If–, and Kim meant no such thing.  His tale instead goes on to demonstrate how useful the accidental product of ‘satiable curiosity became to Elephant Child and his posterity.

"That may all seem well and good to you, Blawgletter," we hear you say, "but what does that have to do with the judiciary and its acquisition of inefficiency?  Please, good sir, do get to the point.  And do it efficiently, mind!"

We shall endeavor to start doing so.  Next time.

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