A week ago Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he would be retiring from the Court later this term at the beginning of the summer recess. He will be missed, if not most of all then certainly to a great degree, by the sketch artists. He animates the bench with an extensive vocabulary of hand gestures and body language that makes it easy to tell a visual story, and his interminable hypotheticals allow ample time to capture the moment on paper.
Here are some sketches of Justice Breyer, chosen mostly at random not because of their historical significance but because they are the least bad drawings ( I always found it a challenge to limn this justice’s likeness ).
Charles J. Cooper, representing Senator Cruz, responds to Justice Breyer
Same -sex marriage argument, Hollingsworth v. Perry
Second amendment argument, DC v. Heller
Justice Breyer’s arm is in a sling under his robe after a bicycle fall
Justices Breyer & Scalia
Justice Breyer announces opinion in Aereo.
Justice Breyer with opinion of the Court on recess appointments.
Justice Breyer with opinion in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
Justice Breyer opinions in Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne, and BOA v. Miami
Justice Breyer with opinion in Turner v. U.S.
Justice Breyer questions repondent’s lawyer, Kelsi B. Corkran.
Justice Breyer questions Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall
Justice Breyer with opinion in Lagos v. United States
Justice Breyer dissents inTrump v. Hawaii
Justice Thomas with opinion in NIFLA v. Becerra ( Justice Breyer, right, dissents ).
Justice Breyer dissents in Nielsen v. Preap
Justoce Breyer with opinion in Merck Sharp & Dohme v. Albrecht
Justice Breyer’s cell phone rings during arguments in Bristol-Myers Squibb
Sketches from the Mississippi abortion argument, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., were posted earlier. Here are the rest of December’s sketches.
While hundreds of demonstrators filled the sidewalks and streets around the Supreme Court building, inside lawyers made their arguments to the justices before a sparsely populated audience. The case. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, is likely the vehicle the anti-abortion movement has been waiting for.
The justices heard arguments in some notable cases this month, from abortion to gun rights in just the first week. It’s been pretty exciting. The new seating arrangement for the press puts us directly behind arguing counsel; such an improvement after years of being sidelined into a cramped alcove behind two rows of reporters. That’s Nina Totenberg in the foreground, and you can just spy Joan Biskupic on the far right in red.
As usual, I’m late in posting these. I have an aversion to looking at my drawings once they’re done, at least for awhile. It’s always such a struggle, and there’s never enough time, that it’s hard to be satisfied. If that sounds like false modesty it’s just temporary . . . The drawings aren’t bad. I’m just trying to excuse my laziness in publishing them.
On October first, at the investiture ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the new Supreme Court, with the exception of Justice Kavanaugh had recently tested positive for COVID-19, assembled on the bench for the first time.
The new term began as usual on the first Monday in October but with Kavanaugh still absent from the bench but participating remotely by telephone.
Here are the sketches from October’s arguments:
By the second week of arguments Kavanaugh was back to participating in person.
Next Monday, November first, the justices will hear arguments in two expedited cases on Texas’ new law, SB8, enforcing abortion restrictions by bounty, and on Wednesday comes a Second Amendment appeal of New York’s gun carry law. It promises to be an interesting term for the new Court.
. . . for a most unusual SCOTUS term. And, while I hate to admit it, it’s been kinda fun sketching at home from photos of lawyers arguing their case in more casual settings. It will be interesting to return to the courtroom, as expected, in the fall.
Here are the last sketches from this term, April’s arguments plus the one in early May. I’ll probably do a couple more banners between now and when the last opinion is announced. That’s it, I hope, till October in-person.
Amy M. Saharia for petitioners
Jeffrey Fisher, joined by students from Stanford’s Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, arguing on behalf of Michael Gary.
Daniel L. Geyser for petitioners
Robert N. Hochman for petitioner
Matthew M. Wolf for respondents
Aimee A. Feinberg, California Deputy Solicitor General
Derek L. Shafer for petitioners
Bradley N. Garcia, appointed by the Court
Peter D. Keisler for petitioners
Matthew W. Morrison for private respondents
Lisa S. Blatt for petitioner
Jeremy M. Feigenbaum, New Jersey State Solicitor
Andrew L. Adler for petitioner
The justices, all now fully vaccinated, recently sat for an official portrait. The SCOTUSblog banner above was based on that photo. Interestingly another photo taken at the same time shows a wider view of the room including a portrait of Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the infamous Dred Scott opinion. I originally had included the Taney portrait — see below — but was persuaded that it might be confusing.