After commencing her duties on August 8th, 2009 as the 111th Supreme Court Justice and the first Latina to hold such office, Justice Sonia Sotomayor took her first seat on the bench Wednesday at a specially convened session of the Court. Yep, now that the hubub is over and she’s really in there (whoo!) Sotomayor is down to business hearing her first SC case involving campaign finance and Hillary Clinton. Interesting.
I know this isn’t the most progressive or feminist thing to be pointing out but as I was reading up on Sotomayor’s first days on the job, I couldn’t help but sigh at this photograph of Justice Sotomayor.
WHY must the women on the bench wear these frilly messes around their necks? Called “jabots” (pronounced zha-BO), the lacy offspring of a dickie and a doiliy is a traditional type of neckwear at dating back to the 17th century. Jabots have been seen on the likes of colonial officers, German federal judges, French academics, and pirates. Pirates and female justices of the US Supreme Court.* I don’t want to blame Sandra Day O’Connor for anything, great as she is, but Sandy’s going to have to take the fall for this jabot nonsense. Unhappy with the way her neckline looked in her robe, O’Connor bit the Euro court style and brought the lacy jabot to the highest court of our land.** That’s one first you wished she hadn’t accomplished.
Look, we know they’re women. Second to being Latina, all we heard about was Sotomayor’s gender. So why can’t these bright, accomplished legal scholars wear the same type of robes that the fellas are sporting? Better yet, why can’t the robes be cut in a way that are flatteringly unisex? Why can’t the folks over at Acme Robes or Robes R Us recognize that yes, there WILL be women on the bench and they can’t go around all bare-necked, clavicle exposed! I’ve been in several courtrooms and have worked for a judge. I know that the women judges wear robes that don’t require special lace adornment and guess what, no one forgets that they’re female. That frilly crap is part of the reason I can’t stand Judge Judy (who I mainly dislike because of her nasty demeanor and my overall disdain for TV judges). I could “accidentally” push Judge Karen down some stairs for that red-purple robe she’s got. Honestly, I don’t know how I became a judicial wardrobe critic but I wouldn’t have to be if they all just wore something simple and not distracting (not to mention slimming)… Black.
By the way, if Your Honor wants to add a little feminine flair, I’d take a cue from Judge Hatchett who looks wonderfully judgetastic in a jewel-toned collar and a peek of multi-string pearls.
OMG. Why do I care about this so much? Ahhh! Law Geek!
*Source: Wikipedia **Source: HuffPost