“The Judge in the Hat” (With Apologies To Dr. Seuss)

antonin-scalia hat

The sun did not shine.

Inaugurations are gray.

So reporters sat mocking the people that day.

Senator Claire McCaskill tweeted just what they said.

“Why does Justice Scalia have THAT on his head?”

“It’s a beret on steroids!” one journalist claimed.

“It’s so floppy! It’s silly! He should be ashamed!”

But the mockers just showed what they’d proven  before:

They are dim wits, for the hat honored Sir Thomas More. 

It is seen on his portrait, sitting right on his hair,

And Scalia had chosen his fashion with care.

Brave Sir Thomas fought power abused by a king,

And he died fighting tyranny, beheaded one spring.

For Scalia to emulate More on this day

Meant his hat was a message, and not just some beret.

He was telling this President, as More might have said it,

“Keep abusing your powers, and you will regret it.

Obamacare skated when Roberts’ mind quit,

But  we’ll fight for the Founders, don’t you doubt it one bit!” 

It was clever of Nino, and audacious, and tough

To choose this event to declare, “That’s enough!”

And in such a sly way that he certainly knew

Would go over the heads of all but a few.

Still I’m sorry to say, but I’d say to his face,

“Mister Justice, that symbol was just out of place.

The swearing in isn’t the place for defiance; 

You were bound to show loyalty, just not compliance.”

So as much as I honor More’s ethics and fight,

For Scalia to wear his hat then…

Wasn’t right!


15 thoughts on ““The Judge in the Hat” (With Apologies To Dr. Seuss)

  1. Assuming that was the message Scalia was sending, it sounds very ethical to me. Loyalty to the Constitution would require defiance to Obama.

  2. Loyal opposition IS, well, loyal. And, as American as apple pie (with apologies to all those teachers who taught me that a sentence should never begin with “and;” also that cliches are to be eschewed). Scalia, I think, knew that a great many pundits would be fawning over Obama’s words, so a little counter-point would hardly be amiss. Or, maybe he was trying to be the guy who, in ancient Rome, who had the job of standing behind the general being feted with a Triumph to whisper to him that he was still just a man, so don’t let all the fuss go to his head. Either way, I just can’t see Scalia’s quiet statement as failing to demonstrate loyalty. Opposition, in a free republic, is fundamentally an act of loyalty. A paradox there, and perhaps a little counter-intuitive, but true all the same. Or so I hold.

    • Karl: See below. Loyalty was the best I could muster in meter—mostly, I think it was rude and violates the spirit of the proceedings. But your analogy with the whisperer in Rome is a good one, and has me a bit shaken, as well as stirred.

  3. “You were bound to show loyalty, just not compliance.”

    Jack – I pledge allegiance to the flag that symbolizes the American Republic, not to a president. Any oaths that I have taken have been to protect and defend the constitution, not a president.

    We are a country of laws and of men. There is (or should be) no royalty in this country for us to be loyal to; we are (or should be) loyal to the constitution.

    • I assume you’ll for give me for less than than the usual precision of language while imitating THING ONE, but the issue isn’t loyalty so much a proper venue, decorum, and position. The hat was the equivalent of carrying a sign that read, “Obama’s a tyrant” and “Obama sucks.” This wasn’t the day for that, when the sign carrier is a member of the Supreme Court. I look at it as a tit-for-tat for Obama’s knocking the Court in the State of the Union message a few years ago, which was similarly inappropriate. I give Scalia points for being clever, but it was ultimately like writing “up yours” on his forehead in Samskrit.

      I tried to write the above in the style of “Fox in Sox” but couldn’t kind a rhyme for “Sanskrit.”

      • That is hilarious, Jack. A genuine LOL post.
        With just a pinch of profanity “Sanskrit” is an easy rhyme. Thanks for not going there.

      • Funny, I thought it was the most appropriate thing he could do…

        Luther argued against the excess and horribly broad powers the Church had. Scalia seems to hold a similar view of the Administration.

        So how is the hat wrong? What ethical principle did it violate?

        Personally, I would have liked to have seen “suck it obama” in Sanskrit,

  4. In the hat that Scalia wore on his head,
    I think perhaps too much may have been read.
    Maybe he just liked how Sir Thomas dressed,
    and wasn’t saying he felt was being oppressed.
    Think, for example, of Rehnquist of old,
    who adorned his sleeves with ribbons of gold.
    Based, I have read, on the play Iolan-thee,
    but I doubt he meant he was just like the LC.

    Of course, it may be that you are quite right,
    and comparison is intended to Thomas More, Kt.
    (who, I dont think that anyone could deny,
    lost his head long ago in the month of July).
    To mock the judge, then, it would not be polite,
    but to comment and question, I think is all right.
    Just think what they’d say, if he wore down below,
    The brilliant white toga of M.T, Cicero.

    • 1. Bravo.
      2. Touche!
      3. I KNEW someone would call me on “spring.”
      4. Chief Justice Rehnquist’s gold stripes may well have been inspired by a Georgetown Law Center dress rehearsal of a student production of “Iolanthe” that he witnessed in 1975. I directed it. The then Justice was a great fan of Gilbert and Sullivan but couldn’t make a performance, so we invited him to the dress. It was a disaster—the set caught fire, among other things, but Rehnquist was there til the end, 5 hours after it started. He sure had a long time to stare at the LC’s robe.
      5.Maybe the cartoonist’s were right—maybe this IS a weird blog..

      • Whoa, now that’s a neat connection. I had no idea you were involved in the production that inspired Rehnquist when I wrote my poem. Did you play a role as well as direct? How did the set catch fire? I hope the actual performance went more smoothly.

        • I was just the director (though I played the L.C. in college, on the same stage where John Lithgow had played the part—to perfection— before me)—as a third-year student, it was my third G&S production in three years once I co-founded the organization midway through my first. The organization, now known as The Georgetown Gilbert and Sullivan Society, is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in April, and is the only grad-student operated theater country in the nation.

          The set caught fire when too much powder was put in the flash pot that accompanied the entrance of the Queen of the Fairies in Act One. The actual performances were smooth as silk. 4 encores of “Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady”!!!

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