USA Today reminds us that the U.S. Supreme Court justices are really old.
The average age of the nine justices — who range from 55 to nearly 90 — is about 70. Yet the tenor of oral arguments also reflects the sensibility of the bookish types who end up at the marble cloister. As a group, the justices — and many of the lawyers who argue before them — like history and classical music and were baffled by all the fuss when a case involving Anna Nicole Smith, then a reality-show star, came before them in 2006.
In a dispute this term over employees’ duty of “honest services” under a vaguely worded federal law, Breyer tried to show how the law could be taken to extremes. The scenario he spun brought spectators back to a time of fedora-wearing men itching to play the ponies rather than get their work done:
” ‘Do you like my hat,’ says the boss. ‘Oh, I love your hat,’ says the worker. Why? So the boss will leave the room so that the worker can continue to read the Racing Form. Deception?” Breyer queried.
Other justices, including John Paul Stevens, 89, and Anthony Kennedy, 73, raised hypotheticals that involved the timeless practice of skipping out to catch a baseball game. (None of the nine suggested the contemporary scenario of shopping online while on the clock.)