HOLLYWOOD, CA – Here I thought I was getting a rare Monday holiday off, but my colleague DJ Eberle is busy skiing in minus 11 degree temps in Vermont… because it’s fun! So, here goes another President’s Day post, a spot I’ve used a few times now to celebrate the sports achievements of our illustrius leaders throughout the years. My favorite is still a masked Richard Nixon wrestling the Fabulous Moolah for the elusive Intergender Belt in the late 1950s… Anyway, with the surprise passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, I thought I’d take it in a different direction: Supreme Court Athletes...
Judge William Howard Taft: Here’s a two-fer, a president who also was a Supreme Court Justice! I believe I mentioned in the past how he dominated a Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest…but during his court years he would return to Coney Island as a high diver, sometimes riding a horse, sometimes with the horse riding him.
Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes: The Civil War vet and one of the most esteemed legal scholars of the 20th century, Holmes was also one of the most popular and longest tenured Supreme Court justices, with great lines like “Judge not a people by the ferocity of its men, but by the steadfastness of its women.” To prove his point, when he retired at the ripe old age of ninety, he hit the senior circuit in Depression Era arm wrestling competitions, taking on only women.
Judge Thurgood Marshall: The opposite of Scalia, he celebrated the Constitution as a living document that occasionally had to “catch up” with the times; was a protector of individual rights; and decried as an “activist judge.” But did you know, during his prep for Brown v. The Board of Education, he drummed up support by eating an entire train engine piece by seperate but unequal piece? Unfortunately the engineer was still inside at the time.
Judge William Renquist: The Nixon appointee and long serving Chief Justice was an arch-conservative who would probably face an impossible nomination process today–and that’s from the conservative side!–because he practiced things like thoughtful administration and compromise. These skills were never more on display when he played doubles with his girlfriend at Stanford Law School, Sandra Day O’Connor (true!), but they didn’t last long as they tended to hit all their shots down the middle, angering both the left and right alleys on the court.
Judge Antonin Scalia: The man who once argued that “the only good Constitution is a dead Constitution,” he gets to find out for himself now. A staunch believer in upholding the letter of the document even if the people who wrote it believed in slavery, duels, witches and had no idea what germs were, he died after a day hunting quail, presumably with a blunderbuss. But did you know he once went out for his alma mater Georgetown’s basketball team? The tryout didn’t go very well, as he was flummoxed by the fact that the baskets were made of netting and not a peach bucket, and that there weren’t nine people per team on the court but five, diminishing his already slim chances.
Come back tomorrow for more Supreme Judgements from Big Al Sternberg/Fake Sandy Alderson… But share your opinions below and please follow our wiity repartee on Twitter & Facebook.