Dispensing justice is no easy matter. That is clear when you look at all the elements courts must worry about as they go about their daily duties.
Social media and juror misconduct are two of the more common areas courts must concern themselves with these days. But what about … judicial robes?
Apparently, some colorful judges in Florida have strayed too far into the hues. So much so that the state supreme court has issued an order requiring judges to stick to basic black—no adornments, please.
No surprise that the ABA Journal’s story lede mentions former Chief Justice Rehnquist’s penchant for a little pizzazz, manifested in the stripes (sorry, chevrons) he had added to his Chief’s robes—a la Gilbert and Sullivan.
I was surprised in the story that in the comment period one judge mentioned she would be disappointed in the “adornments” rule, as she likes to add a simple lace collar “to add a touch of femininity to the dignity of the robe. It is equally important for the Florida Supreme Court to acknowledge that we now have a diverse bench.”
I hadn’t thought about the diversity angle, but apparently the supreme court was unswayed by that argument.
Did you think Chief Justice Rehnquist’s taste was a tad florid? Well, don’t tell that to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Here’s a picture of those colorful fellows, and remember—they add wigs to those outfits too.
Meantime, I recalled my one opportunity to be more formal a few years ago, when I moderated a Law Day panel at a downtown Phoenix venue. On that day, the Maricopa County Supervisors chambers were filled with lawyers, judges and members of the public. When better, I thought, to channel my inner Abraham Lincoln.
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