I just have to share…

Aaron told me last night that he had read this great story about Justice Stevens and he sent me the quip just now.  I have to relay it because it’s so awesome.

“ONE of Justice Stevens’s trademarks is the courteousness with which he treats the lawyers who appear before the Supreme Court. When he wants to elicit information or make a point during oral argument, he typically interrupts the lawyer with the gentle preface, ‘May I ask you a question?’

During William Rehnquist’s tenure as chief justice, a lawyer was arguing in the court for the first time. When asked a question by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the nervous lawyer started her response with, ‘Well, Judge —’  Chief Justice Rehnquist interrupted her. ‘That’s Justice Kennedy,’ he said.

Shaken, the lawyer continued. A few minutes later, she responded to Justice David Souter by saying, ‘Yes, Judge.’  Chief Justice Rehnquist corrected her again: ‘That’s Justice Souter.’  

A couple of minutes later, she called Chief Justice Rehnquist himself a judge. The chief justice leaned forward, his deep voice now at its sternest, to say, ‘Counsel is admonished that this court is composed of justices, not judges.’

Before the lawyer could say anything, Justice Stevens interjected: ‘It’s O.K., Counsel. The Constitution makes the same mistake.'”

What a nice guy.

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3 Responses to “I just have to share…”


  1. 1 Gretchen April 13, 2010 at 4:03 am

    Love it!

  2. 2 Sara April 13, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Cute story. Sometimes you forget that those justices have senses of humor.

  3. 3 Raoser April 13, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Oh, that poor lawyer. She’s probably still beating herself up for that one. He really is a nice man for making it a little better. I would’ve died.


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