Conservatives hope that Judge John G. Roberts Jr. will be a true originalist, approaching the Constitution the same way the founders did, from wearing a powdered wig, to writing on parchment with a quill and pen. But sources close to the Judge say that while he covets the job of Chief Justice, he is loathe to give up many modern conveniences, including trading in his brand new Porsche 911 for a horse-drawn carriage.
Wants the job but says powdered wig 'too scratchy'
By Deanna Swift
WASHINGTON, DC--Conservatives hope that Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., President Bush's choice to replace Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, is a true originalist. If they get their way, say Court watchers, the newest Justice will approach the Constitution in just the way that such famous founders as William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight and Hugh Williamson did. But proponents of originalism say that if Justice Robert is to stay true to the intentions of the original originalists, he must do more than talk the talk--he must walk the walk. Here's a look:
Party like it's 1789
The Supreme Court's reigning originalists, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, routinely don olde school party fashions when it's time to chill with other originalists. One hot look for the 2005 Court season: this backward-looking suit, featuring a brocade jacket, vest and ruffled lace collar. While Judge Roberts currently favors a traditional GOP look—dark suits and red ties—the potential Chief Justice was recently spotted in Washington's historic district, trying on this Newport-style brown corded velvet coat. File under supreme fashion sense.
Just for the quill of it
Judge Roberts has been known to fire off judicial zingers in thirty seconds flat. But will he be slowed down by the originalist Court's requirement that he abandon his trusty laptop and printer and instead use the favored communications tools of olde: quill pens, India ink and parchment paper? Not a problem says a source close to the legal eagle: "John's been practicing with the quill at home, and is getting pretty good at scratching out one-liners."
Judge Robert's new ride
Confidantes of the could-be Chief say that if there's one potential hitch in his fight for originalist fame it’s the demand of Scalia, Thomas and other GOP stars that he give up his brand new Porsche 911 and travel to and from work in these custom-made wheels, circa 1800. Explains a source close to the nominee: "when it was time for the Founders to sign the Constitution, they didn't climb behind the wheel of a Porsche or any kind of motorized vehicle. That means that if he's really going to get at what the Founders intended, he's got to trade horsepower for horses."
Everything but the wig
While even opponents of Judge Roberts indicate that he's a shoo-in to be confirmed as the next Chief Justice, one question remains to be answered: what kind of wig will the Court's newest originalist sport? Sources close to Judge Roberts says that he hasn't yet picked a style or decided whether to go with horse hair, yak hair or the more expensive human hair. While the easy-to-care for bob wig is the current favorite fashion among well-dressed originalists, look for Judge Roberts to establish his own style early on. "He doesn't want to get lumped in with the other guys right away," notes a friend of the nominee. One possible look: a queue wig with multiple back braids. "This is a diverse country," says the friend. "John sees this as an opportunity to reach out."
Do you have traditionalist fashion tips for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts? Send your suggestions to Deanna Swift.