Law in Popular Culture

Calif. Judge OK'd Seinfeld's 'Festivus' as Legitimate Religion, Ordered Special Meals for Inmate


Locked up in a California jail, Malcolm Alarmo King wanted healthier meals. In an argument apparently made to a friendly court, he won a ruling from Superior Court Judge Derek Johnson that he should be fed double-portion kosher meals.

Battling to keep its food costs down, the sheriff’s department argued that King himself admitted “healthism” was the so-called religion justifying this request. But Johnson wasn’t daunted, calling a sidebar with King’s lawyer, Fred Thiagarajah, and the county prosecutor and asking for suggestions about a religion he could cite in the kosher-meal order to nail the issue down once and for all, the Orange County Register reported.

“I said Festivus,” Thiagarajah tells the newspaper—and Festivus it was. The holiday (Festivus for the rest of us) was popularized by the writers of the Seinfeld television show, county counsel argued to no avail.

King, however, has now served out his sentence, so further argument over the issue may be mooted.

Last updated Dec. 14 to clarify that Seinfeld writers popularized Festivus.

Also see:

TBS: Festivus e-Card

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