I’m NOT the only one pondering this critical question. So is Oliver the Cat. Here is Oliver doing some serious pondering (shortly before heading off to victimize a helpless bird) –
Whether you think the Democrats or the Republicans have gone off the deep end and are [insert your choice: 1. Evil, 2. Insane, 3. Dumb as a Bunch of Rocks, 4. Commies, 5. Nazis, or, my favorite, 6. Shameless Jacka**es], please pause and take time to laugh at our THIRD branch of government. Why only laugh at the hijinks of the executive and legislative branches, when you can laugh at all three?
Case in point:
For the first one-million years of our republic, Supreme Court justices have worn plain, standard issue, black robes. Tasteful, yes, but lacking that special panache. That ended in 1995.
That year, then Chief Justice William Rehnquist walked into the courtroom wearing four gold stripes on each of his sleeves. I stole the photograph above from photographer Mark Wilson and Getty Images. (If I’m prosecuted for this, I’ll claim some sort of journalist privilege, and as a backup plan – I’ll pray it’s only a misdemeanor.)
Why did Chief Justice Rehnquist do this? Where did he get such a notion? Was it from his research into Western European judicial traditions? Was it from a desire to inspire litigants as to the sacred role of the judiciary? Not quite. According to Adam K. Raymond’s article in the New York Intelligencer, “The embellishments were inspired by the ‘one worn by the Lord Chancellor in a local production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe.’”
So, to be clear, Rehnquist went out to see a local play. At the play, the head of the most powerful court IN THE WORLD, decided that he liked the cut of the Lord Chancellor’s jib, and the next morning he had his wife sew four gold bars on his sleeves. The next time you hear the fancy legal term, “judicial discretion,” this is what they’re talking about.
So, the BIG QUESTION? Will our current Chief Justice John Roberts don the stripes when he enters the Senate chambers to preside over President Trump’s impeachment? Is he too a fan of Gilbert and Sullivan? Sadly, according to Adam Raymond’s article, the answer is, “no.” But Roberts has surprised us before! After all, he WAS the swing vote that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare.
Absolutely ANYTHING is possible! For example, if you’re bored enough to watch the impeachment trial, and your mind begins to wander, you might keep yourself focused on the proceedings by speculating, what, if anything, is Roberts wearing under his robe?
So, stay tuned, and enjoy the show!
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