Celebrity Sightings, SCOTUS Edition
Celebrities are everywhere—even at the U.S.
Supreme Court. Professional athletes, actors and musicians have all popped up
at the high court in various roles.
They have appeared as parties, amici,
commentators—and one, National Football League player Byron “Whizzer” White,
even served as a Supreme Court justice.
amicus brief filed by several
professional musicians in a free
speech case pending before the high court highlights the
impact celebrities can have on Supreme Court matters.
While the involvement of celebrities probably
doesn't affect the individual justices, “it draws a lot more public attention
to the case that would otherwise be lacking,” Josh
Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law,
Houston, told Bloomberg BNA.
Blackman noted a number of times that
high-profile celebrities have been entangled with the high court—from boxing
legend Muhammad Ali to musical icon Cher.
Associate Justice Byron White, who was
nominated to the Supreme Court in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. The former
NFL halfback retired from the court in 1993.
Ali, whose draft evasion conviction was overturned by an 8-0 Supreme
Court in Clay v. United States (1971).
- Pro-golfer Casey Martin,
who won the right to use a golf cart during PGA tournaments due to a disability
in PGA TOUR, Inc. v. Martin (2001).
Nicole Smith, whose multimillion dollar estate battle was at the heart of two
Supreme Court cases, including Marshall v. Marshall (2006).
Cher and Nicole Richie, who were at the heart of
two Supreme Court cases regarding the Federal Communications Commission's new
policy of sanctioning “fleeting expletives” in FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc. (2009).
Schwarzenegger (R), who, in his capacity as Governor of California, initially
filed the Supreme Court petition seeking to revive a state law restricting the
sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Edmund Gerald “Jerry” Brown
Jr. (D) took over as governor of the Golden State by the time the Supreme Court
handed down its opinion—deciding against the state on First Amendment
grounds—in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Assn. (2011).
Niro, whose starring role in the 1980 film Raging Bull was the
subject of a copyright suit in Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. (2014).
Sarandon, who publicly called for Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) to
stay the execution of Richard Glossip after the Supreme Court refused to halt
the execution in Glossip v. Gross (2015).
- Several former NFL players,
who have sued Electronic Arts, the maker of the popular video game Madden NFL,
for using their likenesses without their permission in Elec. Arts Inc. v.
Davis, No. 15-424.
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