an unanticipated consequence of
Jack M. Balkin
Jack Balkin: jackbalkin at yahoo.com
Bruce Ackerman bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
Ian Ayres ian.ayres at yale.edu
Mary Dudziak mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
Joey Fishkin joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Mark Graber mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
Stephen Griffin sgriffin at tulane.edu
Bernard Harcourt harcourt at uchicago.edu
Scott Horton shorto at law.columbia.edu
Andrew Koppelman akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
Marty Lederman marty.lederman at comcast.net
Sanford Levinson slevinson at law.utexas.edu
David Luban david.luban at gmail.com
Gerard Magliocca gmaglioc at iupui.edu
Jason Mazzone mazzonej at illinois.edu
Linda McClain lmcclain at bu.edu
John Mikhail mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
Frank Pasquale pasquale.frank at gmail.com
Nate Persily npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
Deborah Pearlstein dpearlst at princeton.edu
Rick Pildes rick.pildes at nyu.edu
Alice Ristroph alice.ristroph at shu.edu
Brian Tamanaha btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
Mark Tushnet mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
Adam Winkler winkler at ucla.edu
This parlor game emerged from dinner table discussions at the Schmooze. Match Supreme Court Justices with the Rock/Pop/Country artist who has the same basic "style" in their opinion writing, and give your reasons. But always remember, we're focusing on the style, not the politics.
Some of my favorites:
Sandra Day O'Connor-- Britney Spears. (The early Britney, pre-K-Fed, not the later, trashy Britney.) Artistically incoherent but enormously successful attempts to appeal to the exact center of popular taste.
William Rehnquist-- David Byrne of Talking Heads, Blondie, Devo. Unsentimental, terse, and cleverly ironic 80's New Wave post-punk. (Psycho-Killer could easily be a Rehnquist opinion except, of course, for the use of French. No foreign sources in our Constitution, thank you.).
Anthony Kennedy-- Lionel Richie, Barry Manilow. Overly earnest ballads that set your teeth on edge.
Clarence Thomas-- Prince, Lou Reed. Key aesthetic ideal: I don't give a **** what *you* think. The Justice Formerly Known as Clarence.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg-- Alanis Morissette. A Jagged Little Constitution.
Antonin Scalia-- Meat Loaf. Histrionic Opera Rock.
David Souter-- Paul Simon. Bookish, a little too insular and self-contained. Still crazy after all these years.
John Paul Stevens-- Willie Nelson. Crusty, independent, been around forever. (But what about his vote in the marijuana case?)
Stephen Breyer-- Nobody. Stephen Breyer doesn't rock and roll.
We didn't know enough about Sam Alito and John Roberts to match them to anyone yet. But in the fullness of time we will know if they are the Clash or just Richard Marx.
Feel free to offer your own nominations-- and your reasons-- in the comments.
Wow. Whatever they're servin' at the schmooze, I want some. "Jagged Little Constitution"? "Prince, Lou Reed"? You have blown my surrealism circuits with this one. (Do you really think Stevens is most likely to get busted with psilocybin?) B^)
Scalia as Cher and Thomas as Sonny Bono. Scalia is a talented but histrionic screamer. Thomas a mere afterthought follow-on sidekick -- a seeming buffoon who does happen to have an independent brain lurking underneath (but you would never know it, at least at not until he divorces Scalia). Plus Scalia would look mighty fine straddling the guns of a Navy battleship in that fishnet thong getup from the "If I Could Turn Back Time" video (which is also a anthem wholly apropos of Scalia's jurisprudence).
"Scalia as Cher and Thomas as Sonny Bono. Scalia is a talented but histrionic screamer. Thomas a mere afterthought follow-on sidekick -- a seeming buffoon who does happen to have an independent brain lurking underneath (but you would never know it, at least at not until he divorces Scalia)."
Oh, barf. The "Thomas is Scalia's sidekick" idea might have been tenable in the first few years Thomas was on the Court, but is well past its expiration date now. Indeed, I'd consider Prince too inclined to Scalia-esque histrionics to be an appropriate comparison for Thomas, though Lou Reed works better.