Kangaroo court

Kangaroo court

Meaning

  • It refers to a court that passes judgement but is not a valid court.
  • an unauthorized court
  • a bogus court

Example Sentences

  1. The Kangaroo court announced two years back that the family should be banished and the people in the village followed the judgement. To this day, nobody even talks to anyone in that family.
  2. A lot of small villages in India still believe in Kangaroo courts rather than actual ones to get their legal issues resolved.
  3. The punishments meted out by Kangaroo courts should not be taken seriously since they are all just a sham.
  4. Kangaroo courts have long been banned by the government of India but still run at a grand scale.
  5. One often read about ghastly punishments given out by Kangaroo courts in the newspaper.

Origin
The term Kangaroo in Kangaroo court did not come from the native place of Kangaroos that is Australia. There is a speculation that the term originated as being equivalent to Kangaroos with regards to the claim jumping that was noticed in the case of the California Gold Rush. Although the earliest known usage of the phrase was in 1853 in a magazine article by Philip Paxton which was titled ‘A stray Yankee in Texas’. The notion of Kangaroos jumping and providing blank stares at people when they see them for the first time is said to be equivalent to the vacant stares by the judges in a Kangaroo court.

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Those arguing that the term originated in Australia identify the original “kangaroo court” as being R v MacArthur 1808 NSWSC 1 – the court case which sparked the “Rum Rebellion”. This is certainly earlier than any known US usage, so the US usages do not disprove this claim.

Why a kangaroo? Governor Bligh was being challenged to provide an independent judge to hear the case against John McArthur. But since McArthur “had dealings with everyone in the colony”, no human could meet this criteria – it was joked that he would need to appoint a kangaroo to fill this role.

- 2dogs November 28, 2020

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