Home / Supreme Court / It Must Be Nice

It Must Be Nice

/
/
/
1021 Views

to live in a world where comity is the rule, where you spin law out of cotton candy and everyone is friends.

Stephen Breyer remembers that world.

It was a kind world, a fun world. You worked for some hours a day and then you could have a beer with friends or play bridge. There was no need to look at the substance of that work. It was a living, it was routine, as so much work is.

We would do things together outside of class. Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice Anthony Kennedy, Justice O’Connor and I would play bridge with friends and spouses (often changing partners). Today, I gather that justices who do not always agree on legal results nonetheless agree to go to hockey games or play golf together. (Why hockey in Washington, D.C., where baseball, football and basketball abound? Perhaps they just like hockey.)

As is fairly well known, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Scalia loved opera and became great friends. They even convinced Justice Kennedy and me to take part in a Washington Opera performance of “Die Fledermaus,” provided, of course, that we simply sat onstage on a sofa and never opened our mouths. Justice Scalia had a good musical voice, however; he, law clerks and other justices would sometimes sing at the court, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, as well as by a friend of Justice Scalia who was a fine pianist and loved Cole Porter.

Even at work, they could joke innocently.

Chief Justice Rehnquist generally did not approve of jokes made during the business portion of the conference, though I admit I once told him while we were having coffee, and having recently nearly lost a majority on what we thought initially would be a unanimous opinion, “I have discovered how to get five people on a single opinion.” “How?” he asked. “Start with nine,” I replied.

But even this sunniest of jurists can find only a weak ending.

What works for nine people with lifetime appointments won’t work for the entire nation, but listening to one another in search of a consensus might help.

It’s too bad he didn’t have anyone look at this outside the bubble to tell him to read the room.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar
Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views :