When Supreme Court Justice Alito needed help making some of the nation’s most pivotal decisions, he turned to his late springer spaniel, Zeus, to “test out” ideas, Time reports.
“Late at night when I was thinking about cases I would test out my ideas with Zeus,” he said. “He generally agreed with me.”
When he really needed help, Alito said he relied on Zeus’ “special way” of decision-making. The Supreme Court Justice would separate the red brief and the blue brief—red is the respondent’s brief, blue is the petitioner’s—equidistant from Zeus, “put a few dog treats on both,” and “let Zeus go.”
“If he went to blue brief, then we would reverse,” Alito said.
The judge also joked Zeus helped in the 2010 U.S. v. Stevens, which overturned a federal statue that criminalized the production or sale of cruelty to animals. Alito was the sole dissenter.