Tales from the Trail

Busted at the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court unveiled a white marble bust of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was remembered as an exceptional lawyer, a skillful judicial administrator and an avid tennis player. COURT

The $50,000 marble portrait of  the influential conservative jurist wearing his judicial robe will join the busts of 15 other former chief justices in a prominent hallway before the entrance to the courtroom. Rehnquist died from cancer four years ago after serving on the nation’s highest court for more than 33 years.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who once worked for Rehnquist as a Supreme Court law clerk and then succeeded him, and  Justice John Paul Stevens, both described Rehnquist as a great chief justice at a special ceremony Thursday.

James Duff, a top aide to Rehnquist, recalled how the chief justice also wrote four books, played tennis and enjoyed watching sports — especially college football — and singing songs.

Duff said Rehnquist appreciated brevity and would have been particularly pleased the speakers at the ceremony had a five-minute limit.

Roberts, Obama jumble presidential oath of office

WASHINGTON – It was merely a formality and it’s probably a few phrases that both Barack Obama and Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts have practiced several times, but the leader of the Supreme Court may have been just a tad nervous when he got one word of the presidential oath of office a little out of order.

Obama smiled slightly when he realized that Roberts, a fellow Harvard Law School graduate, misplaced the word “faithfully” during the oath. but the new president joined in the fun and repeated it the way Roberts initially administered it. (Lest we forget, in the Senate Obama voted against confirming Roberts to the high court. Last week Obama met with him and the other Supreme Court justices during a courtesy call.)

Here is how the oath is supposed to be administered: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Biden pulls U.S. Supreme Court card in election fight

DENVER – Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden is urging voters to think about what type of justices they want on the U.S. Supreme Court before they decide who they want in the White House.rtr21p7h.jpg

Biden said U.S. President George W. Bush’s two conservative appointees — Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito — have pushed the nation’s highest court far to the right.

This, Biden charged, has threatened civil liberties and set back efforts to desegregate schools and obtain equal pay for women.