As regular readers of this blog (all two of you) know, I am obsessed with toilets. As a result of taking senior status, I no longer have my own personal Article III commode. While sympathetic to my plight, a correspondent informs me that things could be worse.
My attention has been drawn to the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. That building, located in Texarkana, sits on and is bisected exactly by the line that divides Arkansas from Texas. I am told that there is a trial courtroom in Arkansas for the Western District and also a trial courtroom in Texas for the Eastern District–both in the same building.
What concerns me is this: My informant says that if you are in the courtroom located in Arkansas, and need to relieve yourself, you must walk over to Texas to do so. If true, that’s plainly unconstitutional. While I must walk three steps to use a common bathroom (ick, ick and ick), at least I can do so secure in the knowledge that I remain in Nebraska (with my judicial immunity intact).
PS For more on the general history of this unique federal courthouse, see the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program feature on this building. For an interesting article about the cooperation between the two district courts, see the 2004 article in the Third Branch entitled A Split Court? Texarkana Sits on the Line. For the potential constitutional problems of trying criminal cases in one courtroom rather than the other, see this 2008 post from the Volokh Conspiracy entitled Article III, Congress, and the Texarkana Courthouse.