"Stop Hogging the Popcorn, Nino": Movie Night with the Supremes

Supreme Court justices are people too. And like all good Americans, they love going to the movies. From today's Reliable Source:

supreme%20court%202.JPGSo what if you have 25 cases to wrap up by the end of the month? No reason the whole office can't bail out a little early one night to catch a movie together!

For the folks on the Supreme Court, a retirement was even more cause for a midweek treat. On Wednesday afternoon, all nine justices -- plus recently retired colleague Sandra Day O'Connor and a handful of spouses -- sneaked over to the Library of Congress for a private screening of the John Wayne classic "Red River."

More details and commentary, after the jump.

"Red River" -- an interesting choice. How did they settle on it?

Justices traditionally hold a dinner for retiring members; this time they started the festivities with the 1948 western that is one of Arizona native O'Connor's all-time faves, a court spokeswoman said. Called "one of the greatest of all westerns" by Roger Ebert, "Red River" is a father-son saga set on a Chisholm Trail cattle drive.

It was Justice O'Connor's farewell party, so she got to choose. Justice Thomas's nomination of "Basic Instinct 2" fell by the wayside, as did Justice Souter's pick, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Also rejected: Justice Ginsburg's nomination of "Welcome to the Dollhouse." ("Everyone says I look like the girl from that movie, and I want to see what they're talking about.")

More on "Red River," an old Western whose hyper-masculinity reads as camp when watched today:

It's also a cult favorite because of the homoerotic undertones picked up by film scholars in later years. Surely not even Antonin Scalia could help but snicker during the scene where Montgomery Clift and John Ireland caress each other's weaponry. (Ireland's line: "There are only two things more beautiful than a good gun: a Swiss watch or a woman from anywhere. You ever had a Swiss watch?")

At this point in the film, Chief Justice Roberts leaned over to Justice Souter, caressed his gavel, and said: "There are only two things more beautiful than a good gavel: a clearly written opinion, or a woman from anywhere. Have you ever written a comprehensible opinion?"

A Movie Night Precedent? [WP]


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