The U.S. Supreme Court has a long history with food.
From the court’s first meeting to its current day practices, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor sat down to discuss that history at a Smithsonian Institute event June 1.
Other judges and the attorney general dined with the justices that evening, she said.
And they had a good time, too. Toasting the president and the Constitution, the party made thirteen toasts in all, Cushman said.
Food’s importance to the Supreme Court continued as the high court moved to Washington, she said.
Many of the justices came to the newly minted capital alone, as the term was typically only about two months back then, Cushman explained.
Therefore, Chief Justice John Marshall arranged for the justices to board together. They worked together, lived together and ate together, Cushman said.
They would often discuss cases over meals, she said. Catherine E. Fitts, the Supreme Court curator, said only two topics were really off the table: politics and religion. An infraction of that rule came with stiff penalties, she said—namely, a case of champagne that was shared among the justices.
Food, however, wasn’t confined to the boarding house, Fitts noted.
The oral arguments used to take up most of the afternoon, Fitts said. So during those long oral arguments, the justices would take turns sneaking behind a curtain to eat lunch.
One time, a justice decided to enjoy a glass of champagne with his meal, she recalled. All of a sudden, in the middle of the argument, a cork exploded over the bench, Fitts said.
The justices now take a lunch break before afternoon oral arguments.
But the justices still enjoy food and wine together.
Sotomayor said that several of the justices have lunch after oral arguments and on conference days when the court is in session.
The most common topic? Books, she said. The justices will also share funny stories about their families or discuss sports. Just the regular conversations that people who want to get to know each other might have, Sotomayor said.
For more “tidbits” on the U.S. Supreme Court, take a free trial to United States Law Week.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)