New Year, Same Court | Crooked Media
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January 01, 2024
Strict Scrutiny
New Year, Same Court

In This Episode

To start the new year off right, Jonathan Van Ness joins Kate, Leah, and Melissa to suggest some resolutions for the justices of the Supreme Court.







Show Intro Mister Chief Justice, may it please the court. It’s an old joke. but when an argued man argues against two beautiful ladies like this, they’re going to have the last word. She spoke, not elegantly, but with unmistakable clarity. She said, I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.


Leah Litman Welcome back to a new year of Strict Scrutiny, your podcast about the Supreme Court and the legal culture that surrounds it. We’re your hosts. I’m Leah Litman.


Melissa Murray I’m Melissa Murray.


Kate Shaw And I’m Kate Shaw. And a very happy New Year to everyone. And to celebrate, we are bringing you a special New Year’s episode with a very special guest, Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye and Getting Curious with Javier and Jonathan, welcome to Strict Scrutiny. It’s such a pleasure to have you.


Jonathan Van Ness Thank you so much for having me. I love you guys so much. Such a fan and so happy to be here and happy New Year.


Melissa Murray You’re the first guest of 2024, which means that this is going to be the most auspicious, Strict Scrutiny year ever. So listeners, Jonathan was kind enough to have us on getting curious with Javier and where he anointed us the Destiny’s Child of law professors. We had such a good time just riffing with you on your show and not just because of the Destiny’s Child reference, but we said, We’ve got to extend this magic into a new year and we wanted to have you on our show. So thank you so much for being here. And as Kate mentioned, it’s a very special New Year’s episode. It’s a vehicle for starting the year off, Right. And everyone is thinking about their own New Year’s resolutions. And I imagine the justices, at least some of them, are also thinking about how to change their ways and start this year off. Right. And so we thought, why don’t we help them? We’re all about service here and we want to help them be better. And, Javon, we know you want to help them be better. So we’re going to help them out. We’re going to celebrate their flaws and perhaps propel them into a better 2024 with some cheerful shade with none other than the impresario of shade. JVN. Is that an intro or what?


Jonathan Van Ness It was a really strong intro with the new old ethics code that the justices took on last year. I just don’t know. I mean, do we have anything else to ask for? Like,.


Kate Shaw It’s perfect. It’s fixed.


Melissa Murray No notes. No notes.


Jonathan Van Ness They’re literally, like, they’re literally like they’re so ethical. I almost feel like we just I’m scared. Are they going to get are we going to get in trouble for them being so ethical? Like.


Leah Litman I mean, I mean, we’re definitely in the good place now, so.


Melissa Murray For sure.


Leah Litman This checks.


Jonathan Van Ness I’m sorry we freaked out on them so bad. No, we really. Oh, I think we owe Justice Thomas an apology. I think that we.


Melissa Murray It was a misunderstanding.


Kate Shaw And they cleared it up, and I’m so grateful they did it. Well, we will still try to find some constructive input that we can give to the justices even after the ethics code. And the way we’re going to do that, I think, is just to march through the justices one by one. We’ll go in order of seniority and we are going to try our best to launch them into 2020 for a better than ever, or at least the best versions of themselves that they can be. You know, given what we all have to work with.


Melissa Murray This part of the episode is called Seri Autumn Shade.


Jonathan Van Ness I’m just having such a physical reaction to this, like listing them in order of seniority. It makes me feel like when you’re going to talk about like the Magnificent Seven, obviously the 1996 women’s gymnastics team that like, won our first team gold medal, or if you’re talking about like 92, which is like our first team medal, we got a bronze, but it’s like when you’re like, like thinking about all of them in seniority order is just like a whole other level, like you guys are on this whole other fucking level. There’s like this seniority order just, like, takes it to this whole other place for me. I’m a I because I don’t even know if I can. Can I think of that off the top of my head? I don’t know.


Kate Shaw We’re happy to take the lead on it, but it is a little bit of a send up of the ridiculousness of that institution in that they do literally everything in order of seniority. They sit they speak at least in conference, not in the oral arguments. Like part of it is in the seniority order, and part of it is just kind of a free for all, but it is just like a wildly hierarchical institution. And yeah, Melissa.


Melissa Murray Tell JVN about who has to get the door at conference. Oh, this is so wild. You’ll hate this.


Kate Shaw They sit. They sit, well, it was okay, you know, a year ago when it was Barrett. It’s the most junior justice. The newest member of the court has to get up to answer the door when they’re in their private conference and someone knocks to drop off a paper or a cup of tea or what have you. And poor Justice Breyer for like a decade. That was him. It was a really long run of him as the most junior justice. And then, of course, the Trump justice came in and and it was it was it was buried, you know, here in change ago. But now it is our girl, Justice Jackson No, we want better for her.


Melissa Murray We want.better for her.


Leah Litman This is why Sam needs to retire, right? So we can get someone else to answer the door.


Melissa Murray Free KBJ.


Kate Shaw That’s the lead reason.


Leah Litman Right?


Jonathan Van Ness It is I mean, honestly, it’s kind of like a it’s a pretty significant reset. Like, I don’t think she said after like, this is the.


Melissa Murray First Black woman on the court getting the door? No one thought this through. No one thought this through.


Jonathan Van Ness We need to write an amendment. They should put that in the ethics code. Yeah. Like, how about the biggest.


Kate Shaw Or the Constitution put in there.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, the Constitution. Like, whoever’s, like, much like, who’s ever, like, the biggest asshole should have to.


Melissa Murray Has to get the door.


Jonathan Van Ness If that was the. If that was the. Who would take the cake?


Melissa Murray A lot of people would be running for the door. That’s the problem.


Leah Litman Depending on the day, it would be Sam or Neil.


Jonathan Van Ness They should do like, a team vote. Like if it was a team vote. I wonder who they would vote. Like if it was like an anonymous ballot. Right?


Kate Shaw I think they mostly hate Neil the most.


Leah Litman Yeah. Yeah. I I agree.


Kate Shaw I think he probably would get voted off, I think, in a secret ballot. Althought Alito too, God.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, but actually they then actually maybe someone who we like would get voted off because.


Kate Shaw That’s dangerous.


Melissa Murray Dangerous. Yeah.


Leah Litman That’s true.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah.


Kate Shaw I would worry about Justice Sotomayor.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, my God. Yeah. Because she is not afraid of the patriarchy she tells them about. And also, like, not to be that person who complements like a Supreme Court justices there, but like her waves and her haircut. I just.


Melissa Murray Curls are poppin. Poppin for her.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, and they always have.


Melissa Murray Bouncy.


Jonathan Van Ness The shape is perfect.


Melissa Murray Perfect.


Jonathan Van Ness No notes. I love her hair so much. Yeah, it’s great. You know who’s hair I don’t like as much?


Melissa Murray I’m listening.


Jonathan Van Ness Ginni Thomas. And not not even. And not even that she’s like, you know, Ginni Thomas it’s like it’s. It’s like also, like it’s not working for her. Like with all that, you know, illicit, dark money.


Leah Litman Her hair is so big because it’s full of insurrection.


Jonathan Van Ness With all that corruption money? I just want to see Beyonce. I want to see Beyonce level weave coming out of there.


Melissa Murray Flow. Let it flow Ginni. Let it flow.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes, let it come out, Ginni. And at the correspondence ball, I want like a fan, like at the base of the stairs doing. What she just like.


Melissa Murray And blow.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes. And then when it would be and then when it blows in the wind, it will reveal like, what’s that word? What do they call the U.S. after it turned into, Gilead? Yeah. When it was like, yeah, when the wind is like it spells out like Gilead. And she’s like, Joke’s on you dummies, huh? Anyway, the ADHD was bad there. I am sorry about that, you guys. I’m so sorry.


Leah Litman No, I feel like we’re giving out some resolutions for free, right? We just gave one to Ginni, so maybe we should kind of get to the justices.


Melissa Murray Let’s go. Let’s do it. Yeah. Okay. All right, So up first. First among equals, the chief justice of the United States. What are the possible New Year’s resolutions for this institutional steward who never puts a foot wrong? Except when Congress comes calling for a subpoena?


Leah Litman I’ll put one out there. I want to see him try to tame those feral cats and face-eating leopards that he sits on the court with. He needs to get control of his peeps.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, that’s like you really can’t do better. Yeah.


Melissa Murray Wow. I would like to see the Chief Justice put a little more flair into his work and justice.


Kate Shaw You mean sartorial?


Melissa Murray I mean sartorial flair. Chief Justice Rehnquist brought the noise like, you know, it took him a while to get there, but he put some bars on his sleeves and he got this from a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. And I’m. I need to see a little flair like you’ve been in this job for, like a zillion years. It’s time to make it your own. And not just with a code of what a should a ethics code like do something big, like a cape, robe or some bars, but like, make it your own.


Jonathan Van Ness I know it’s a new year. And also that the overturning of Roe is actually in 2022, which is kind of mind-blowing. But like, I can’t believe he did that still. Like I, I don’t know why I can’t. But that fucking guy, these people, I just still can’t get over it. I just I can’t.


Kate Shaw We’re not over it.


Melissa Murray He didn’t actually. He didn’t actually overrule Roe.


Kate Shaw Are you going to come to the defense?


Melissa Murray Yeah. I can’t believe I’m doing this.


Jonathan Van Ness But didn’t he vote? Didn’t he vote to overturn.


Leah Litman No he didn’t vote to overturn Roe. This is why he needs to get control of his face eating leopards and feral cats that he sits with. It was the Republican goals who voted to overrule Roe.


Jonathan Van Ness Wait. So he didn’t. So the chief justice didn’t vote to overturn.


Kate Shaw He joined them to agree that the Mississippi law should be allowed to stand. He just said, well, we don’t really have to do it today. So I didn’t overturn Roe is technically true. Wouldn’t of overturn Roe in a couple of years. I would never say none of us would. But no, he did not vote. He did not join the part of the Alito opinion that overturned Roe.


Jonathan Van Ness Does everyone know that?


Melissa Murray Maybe not, maybe not. But now they do. And this is why Leah’s resolution is like literally number one for him. Like he’s got to be a chief justice in more than just name. No more Chino. Serious chief justice.


Kate Shaw And I’ll throw a couple more possible resolutions into the mix. One, testify before Congress. Right. You have been invited. You basically gave them the back of the hand. If you actually think that you guys are kind of cleaning up shop and do adhere to rigorous ethics standards. I mean, the sidebar. No, no, you don’t. And nothing in the ethics code should give any comfort. It’s really this kind of anti ethics code, as we’ve talked about on the show. It does. In some ways less than nothing but stand up in front of the Congress and in front of the country and defend yourself and your institution, essentially sort of put up or shut up, I guess I would say, as opposed to this like little document you just put out and then don’t actually have to answer any questions about. So that’s my advice to Robert.


Melissa Murray I’m going to piggyback on that. Also, be better at investigating leaks. I’m like, no more of this Inspector Gadget nonsense, like get a real investigator, right?


Kate Shaw These two talk, the two documents, the ethics code, you know, the like air quotes, ethics code, end the report on the investigation into the source of the Dobbs leak were pretty embarrassing documents, both of them. So if you’re going to try to do things, you know, as an institutionalist, that step outside of the role of just issuing these judicial opinions and actually, you know, do work in other, you know, lanes or venues, do a less embarrassing job.


Jonathan Van Ness I’d like to submit a piece of evidence. I hope I don’t I hope there’s a. Can you see his creepy nails? I’ve never noticed this about him, but.


Leah Litman Not super well in that picture. what? What do they look like? Can you describe them? Like, are they short? Are they like.


Jonathan Van Ness He has.


Kate Shaw Are they dirty nails?


Jonathan Van Ness They’re not dirty. But I do feel that the nail length is a really peculiar length. It’s a weird shape. They’re very square and and flat, but.


Melissa Murray Are they long?


Jonathan Van Ness They’re on. They’re not short, but they’re not long. They’re this really it’s long enough that a straight midwesterner would be like, Are you *beep* or you do you like *beep*, you know, what’s up with these nails?


Leah Litman Because it sounds like you’re describing that they’re like square. So they’re like shaped that way.


Jonathan Van Ness Very manicured or they’re very manicured. And my resolution for him would be to let’s get real.


Leah Litman You know, let’s get real. Let’s get curious. This is why we needed to have you on for the New Year’s resolution show.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, that’s what I think about him.


Kate Shaw Wait, can I just ask, is there a framed picture of John Roberts just under your desk?


Jonathan Van Ness No, I pulled that up on my computer. I just Googled it. I Googled him.


Kate Shaw Oh, you’re holding up a laptop?


Jonathan Van Ness I was holding up the laptop. Yeah, I just. I lifted up my laptop and turned it around to the camera so you can see it.


Kate Shaw That would be quite a revelation.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, No, could you believe that if I was just like, Oh, let me grab my framed picture of Chief Justice Roberts. I know. Yeah.


Leah Litman And his oddly shaped nails.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, I have not. We have not looked at him enough. We need to look at him more often. You guys, we don’t know what he looks like. We need the people need to know who the fuck this man is.


Kate Shaw Okay. Wow. It’s going to be hard to top that with the other resolutions, you guys.


Leah Litman Yeah. And yet we do have some other justices.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, we have to get through. Thats. We’re just warming up. I’m just fucking warming up Yeah, that’s. That was child’s play. Come on, let’s go. Well, it was adults play, let’s go. We got this. Who’s next?




Kate Shaw We’ll compose ourselves and go on in one second.


Jonathan Van Ness I will say with the podcast you couldn’t. They couldn’t see. But Melissa did nearly fall out of her chair at one point.


Melissa Murray I fell all the way out.


Kate Shaw She did. Can confirm.


Jonathan Van Ness That that was the hardest I’ve ever made you laugh and I have to say, I only response is, thank you. Thank you. I will be here all week.


Melissa Murray All the way out. I have to gather myself. Like whoa.


Leah Litman Ringing in the New Year in style.


Melissa Murray I got to, I have to take off this jacket.


Jonathan Van Ness I am going on tour and I have more dates this year. So, you know, that’s just a little taste of my comedy right there. So if you’d like some more, it’s mostly revolved around.


Leah Litman Additional New Year’s resolution. I think we need to send the justices to your comedy tour.


Jonathan Van Ness You know, I could probably fix like queer rights and trans rights and everything.


Melissa Murray Comp tickets.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, I need to do that now.


Melissa Murray Yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness I don’t know if they’ll come.


Leah Litman We’ll tell them at the Federalist Society gathering.


Melissa Murray You have absolutely left my composure in shambles and.


Jonathan Van Ness So sorry.


Melissa Murray As a segue, Justice Thomas left 2023 in shambles and there’s no other way to put it. So after accepting boarding school tuition from Harlon Crowe for his grand nephew slash Ward, just as Thomas fixed his face to say this about affirmative action. So let’s roll this tape.


Clip of Justice Thomas The original sin of slavery and the historical subjugation of black Americans do not still determine our lives today. To believe otherwise would lock us into a seemingly perpetual, inferior caste. This is irrational. It is an insult to individual achievement and cancer. As to young minds, if an applicant has less financial means than surely, a university may take that into account, just as it may take into account an applicant’s ability to overcome any other difficult circumstance. What the university cannot do is use the applicant’s skin color as a heuristic, assuming that because he is blind, he therefore conforms to the university’s simplistic view of an abstract average black person. Nor can universities favor certain race over Asian-Americans in their. In decisions today. Tomorrow, the popular and unpopular races may well change places. The Equal Protect Equal Citizenship Guarantee, codified in the 14th Amendment, made us all citizens of one nation governed by one constitution. The court today lives up to the promise of the second founding and ensures that the promise of equal citizenship continues to be fulfilled.


Melissa Murray There is a lot here, but I think first and foremost it seems very clear that Justice Thomas’s inner child needs to stop inflicting his trauma on this entire country. So my number one resolution for Justice Thomas is to take your concurrence in Students for fair admissions to therapy. That is, show it to a trained therapist, i.e., not Ginni, and then do the work. Just do the work.


Jonathan Van Ness Therapy is really good.


Leah Litman While we’re throwing things out, you know, when you’re done with that, another resolution, although this one might be a revolution, would be to pay for something yourself.


Melissa Murray Get a wallet, get your own wallet.


Kate Shaw I would say a related resolution is to make a friend just go out there and make one friend who doesn’t have anything to give. You have some kind of non transactional friendship.


Melissa Murray Find a poor person to be a friend with.


Kate Shaw It can be anyone. Find a person who doesn’t need anything from you and is not going to give anything to you and actually just forge a human bond with them. I feel like this is something that he should prioritize in 2024.


Jonathan Van Ness That was like such a classy and that that’s why y’all are the Destiny’s Child of law professors like right there. Like, that was so classy, beautiful, perfectly harmonized, so balanced. No, it was a hit. That was.


Melissa Murray *singing* Say my name say my name.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, Yeah.


Leah Litman I mean, there is a Destiny’s Child song about paying your own bills, so. You know, also on point.


Melissa Murray I mean,but it goes the wrong way. You can pay my bills. Keep paying my credit card bills


Leah Litman Okay, Clarence, don’t listen to that one, but.


Jonathan Van Ness Because there’s a lot of independent women who don’t, you know. Yeah. Who don’t get to be as independent now because of his fucking decisions, you know,.


Kate Shaw Correct.


Jonathan Van Ness Because we don’t want to cater to you because we’re a survivor. Okay.


Leah Litman There we go.


Jonathan Van Ness Gospel medley.


Melissa Murray Put your freak em dress on, go make a friend.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes.


Melissa Murray Yes.


Jonathan Van Ness That was really good. That’s such a classy read. Make a friend.


Leah Litman Thank you. And you know, one other free trip just while we’re.


Melissa Murray Free trip? Freudian.


Leah Litman Freudian! Free tip. Free tip. Do not. Do not. Clarence, make jokes about buying boats at Supreme Court. Oral arguments. They’re not funny.


Clip of Justice Thomas Just a short question, Mr. Bachmann. Satisfy my curiosity. Were they able to salvage those twin 12V 71s?


Clip of Mr. Bachmann Just a handful of points. Justice Thomas to your central question, the boat is available for sale online if you have a half million dollars and.


Melissa Murray So, so hilarious. So very hilarious.


Jonathan Van Ness He is. He is so funny


Leah Litman You want to learn how to be funny. Go to JVN’s Comedy tour.


Leah Litman [AD]


Melissa Murray So I don’t think Justice Thomas is the only member of the court who could use some healing, textual or otherwise. I think therapy ought to be a goal for Justice Alito as well. Sir. You are seriously at risk of challenging Solicitor General Elisabeth Preloger or the chief justice to literally fight you in oral arguments. You are this close to being the supreme court’s answer to Senator Mark Wayne Mullen.


Clip You wanna run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here. Okay, that’s fine. Perfect. You want to do it now. I’d love to do it right now. Well, stand your butt up, then. You stand your butt up. Hold it. Stop it. Is that your solution to every problem. No, no. Sit down. You’re a clown. Look at you. You know, you’re a United States senator.


Kate Shaw Tease of the question. Who is the Bernie Sanders of the Supreme Court? If Alito does try to fight an advocate who who reins him in.


Melissa Murray I think it would be the chief justice.


Kate Shaw I think Kagan. I feel like Kagan.


Leah Litman What if Alito challenges the chief to a fight.


Kate Shaw Then its going to be in a third party neutral? I don’t know.


Melissa Murray I don’t think the chief justice is a teamster in this scenario. I don’t think he’s like, perfect. Let’s go. I don’t think he says that.


Kate Shaw Nope, nope.


Melissa Murray He’s a lover, not a fighter.


Leah Litman Nails are too well manicured.


Kate Shaw Preloger, on the other hand, might have that in her.


Leah Litman Yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness I have a few. Just a quick read for Alito, you guys. I did just.


Leah Litman Yes.


Jonathan Van Ness I did pull up his image as well. I wanted to just refresh my memory. He really needs to put down the bucks. Hair color would be my biggest resolution for him. You are a Supreme Court justice and you’re using box dye. And I think that is horrific. He it goes a little bit Danny DeVito in Matilda sometimes where it’s grabbing a little dark and then we’re giving gray temples. I’m seeing a wild swings in these hair colors. I’m also really wanting him to use sunscreen because he has a gigantic melasma spot right on his cheek.


Melissa Murray Oh my God. Thank you!


Jonathan Van Ness And I am so worried about that. He really it’s a year of skin care. And I actually think if he used skin care, he probably wouldn’t be such you because he’s you can really see the oppression leaching into his skin. You know, when you when you oppress people so much and you don’t use skin care.


Kate Shaw His deeds are etched in his face.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, your lips get all cracked.


Kate Shaw Yeah.


Melissa Murray When you’re 70, you have the face you deserve. And like, I’m so glad you said this, because that was my tip for him, too. Like, he used to have, like, amazing skin. Like, if you look back, he.


Jonathan Van Ness I just was googling it. He was like, he really has not aged well.


Melissa Murray He was so dewy. Well, I mean, this is a very, very recent thing.


Kate Shaw Recent, yeah.


Melissa Murray Oh, very recent.


Jonathan Van Ness He’s 73. I just Googled that, too. That makes sense. Oh, we’re looking at. That’s a little good. That’s I mean, you know, you never know.


Melissa Murray Exactly.


Jonathan Van Ness But yeah.


Kate Shaw Three or four years ago. You know when he was approaching 70.


Melissa Murray He looked 35. He looked 35. No he looked 35.


Leah Litman He looked 50.


Kate Shaw He looked 50. His skin looked pretty good.


Melissa Murray He literally looked amazing in 2019, Like his skin was very moist. Now it seems like ripping longstanding constitutional rights from women leaves you parched and papery. And so I honestly miss the days when Justice Alito skin was thin, but dewy.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah. And there is a difference.


Melissa Murray There is a difference. Like so I really. He needs to drink more water. He needs to moisturize that there’s probably more like there’s more he can do. That’s the skin is the least of it.


Leah Litman You know, to the extent we’re moving off of skin care, I would just add like do not correct or second guess Justice Kagan’s characterizations of opinion she has written or she will challenge you to a verbal and or written fight and you will lose in general. No mansplaining, no Sam splaining. This is 2024. Here’s a clip of him in the past doing so.


Clip Well, Mr. Gore, I thought your argument was that at least as a practical matter, in a case in which there is no direct evidence or virtually no direct evidence, there is no way in which a plaintiff can disentangle race and politics except by providing an alternative map. I thought that was your legal argument. That is. And that’s exactly what Cooper says. That’s not the case. Well, one may read Cooper a different way.


Melissa Murray Leave that crap in 2023.


Kate Shaw Should we move on to Justice Sotomayor.


Leah Litman Yes.


Kate Shaw Our next justice in order of seniority.


Leah Litman A fun one.


Melissa Murray Okay okay.


Kate Shaw So one, celebration slash recommendation, keep doing this, which is that continue to help your colleagues understand what district courts do. They just don’t get it. With the exception, of course, of Justice Jackson. You know, Justice Kagan, I’m sure on top of it, too. But the rest of them have no idea. Help them. Justice Sotomayor, you’ve been doing this, but keep doing this. Help them understand that de novo review. Right? Meaning the court just gets to decide. Every single question for itself. Doesn’t apply to everything. Okay. That serious suggestion, one less serious, but still pretty serious suggestion two.


Melissa Murray We should take.


Kate Shaw Even more.


Melissa Murray Leisure seriously.


Kate Shaw Okay. So then this is equally serious. Which is organize. Justice Sotomayor, organize a girls trip for you and Elena and Ketanji.


Kate Shaw Be vague.


Leah Litman No forced birth advocates welcome.


Kate Shaw Be very vague with Amy about your weekend plans.


Melissa Murray We’re just going to go like, you know, it’s just a thing someone organized like one of my friends from.


Leah Litman I can’t go out *cough, cough* I’m sick.


Melissa Murray I’m going to wash my hair.


Kate Shaw But don’t invite Amy, but do invite us along.


Melissa Murray We’ll come.


Kate Shaw We’re happy to carry your bags. We will pay our own way.


Melissa Murray Obviously.


Kate Shaw We can’t pay your way.


Melissa Murray Obviously.


Kate Shaw Because we’re ethical. We are also not billionaires. We can’t do that.


Leah Litman Final suggestion for Justice Sotomayor is maybe we could all agree on like, what a safe word for oral arguments is, right? Like, let us know what that word is so we know when things are really going off the rails and like blink twice if you know that that much discussed ethics code is hogwash.


Melissa Murray I mean, it has to be a word that you don’t hear a lot at the court. So people so so like maybe like equality would be the word.


Leah Litman Justice.


Melissa Murray Well, they say justice justice might seem.


Leah Litman That’s true. That’s true. Okay.


Melissa Murray Okay. All right.


Leah Litman Okay.


Melissa Murray All right. Who’s up next? Seniority.


Leah Litman Seniority wise, it would be Justice Kagan. So just to continue the trigger fest for a little bit. My New Year’s resolution for Justice Kagan is to make more Taylor Swift references at oral argument. Here she is making one from Uzuegbunam back in 2020.


Clip Let me hear your case. I don’t know what case this cuts in favor of you or the petitioners, but I thought I’d ask it because it’s the most famous nominal damages case I know of in recent times, which is Taylor Swift sexual assault case. You know that one? Vaguely. Yeah. You know, it was a few years ago, and she brought a suit against a radio host for sexually assaulting her. And she said, I’m not really interested in your money. I just want a dollar. And that dollar is going to represent something both to me and to the world of women who have experienced what I’ve experienced. That’s what her the jury gave her a dollar. And and it was it was not unquestionable physical harm, but she just asked for this $1 to say that she had been harmed. Why? Why? Why not?


Leah Litman And, you know, maybe if we’re on their schtick, you could include some Taylor Swift Easter eggs and opinions. And again, I just want to get this all out of the way because I know people find it irritating. But there are other Taylor Swift report in the reviews. The other Taylor Swift fan on the court is Justice Jackson. So here she is in a mock oral argument about Romeo and Juliet with Solicitor General Preloger. Romeo and Juliet.


Clip Well, you mention the Taylor Swift song. Yes, she wrote a song about love story. But she also has another song called Bad Blood. I mean, wasn’t Friar Lawrence aware of the fact that we were in this situation?


Leah Litman And here she is bringing up Taylor Swift in Lindke versus Freed.


Clip I’m trying to understand how we evaluate a government employee controlling access to private property. You keep focusing on the private property nature of this, but what if we have, you know, a big concert? Taylor Swift has a big concert in a private, you know, area park or something, and the police recognize you’re going to be large crowds, etc.. And so they come and they help with the screening of the bags and they, you know, kick out. People who are rowdy and they’re controlling access to this area of the private area of this because it’s private, we would say that’s not state action or. But Taylor Swift could have hired us. It’s not just the fact that I mean, they’re not doing anything more than a private security guard could have done. Right. So it’s not it’s not just we look at, well, what are they doing versus what a private person could do.


Leah Litman I just I love this. I love this so much.


Kate Shaw Do we think they, like, made a date to go see the Eras Tour movie? Should they still do that?


Melissa Murray Maybe that’s their girl trip. Maybe they should go to like, Argentina. Yeah. Go to like, Argentina or something.


Kate Shaw Oh actually back to catch an actual show.


Melissa Murray To go to an actual show.


Jonathan Van Ness They could at least like it. She can, like, teach you how to, like, get people to like you more and like. But the men need to do that with her. Like, the girls don’t need to.


Melissa Murray I don’t think they need those lessons.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah like Taylor needs to maybe, like demand or just like. I don’t know. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one person. She’s so busy.


Melissa Murray I feel like they need to go to her concert and be, like, in the tent, like where Travis Kelce is and like, you just, like, see them and then Taylor do something like. And now go vote. So there would be double this energy on the Supreme Court and then everyone would go register to vote and things could be very, very different. What do you think?


Kate Shaw Do you remember Olivia Rodrigo? It was in concert somewhere right after Dobbs came down.


Leah Litman With Lily Allen yeah.


Kate Shaw Yeah.


Melissa Murray Yeah.


Leah Litman And they dedicated fuck you to me with the justices who overturn Roe and.


Kate Shaw Yeah, and that was a great moment. And the Taylor Swift version of that could really change the trajectory of this country. Like, I agree. That is something that we should be trying to manifest in 2024. We’ve got ideas about how to specifically do it. So, Taylor, have your people call us.


Melissa Murray Speaking of collapse, I think Justice Kagan should do a few more collabs with Justice Jackson. So I’m here for EK times KBJ, which we heard a lot of last year, but I would love to see more of in 2024. So let’s hear a clip.


Clip I think you’re looking at it correctly. Justice Jackson And maybe as to the timing question in 8850, that tracks the Barker test, but we’re asserting a different kind of claim. So why is it different? I understand that. Yes, why is it different?


Leah Litman And finally, you know, while we’re shooting for the moon, everybody knows I love a good Justice Kagan read like I want her to keep the library open forever. And I would like to hear more savagery directed at all of the fools arguing before her and on the bench with her that just liquefies their intestines and sends people to their graves with her words written on their tombstones. So here are some of my favorites from last year.


Clip You know, every regression analysis has things that you can call them, but you didn’t give anything in response to that. It’s not like you said, we have a better regression analysis. We’ve controlled for more things. And we can show you that the that the effect disappears. You were saying that it was clear error to credit the plaintiff’s experts dealing with the exact question under review and finding statistically significant results to credit those experts over your nothing. Yeah, it’s just too important. And what whatever I mean the FDIC, the SCC, they also failure test the history of our country just rejects that scheme. I mean that might have been a way to understand what the framers were doing. But it turns out that from the very first year, that’s not what they were doing. That’s not what they did. Annual line item appropriations were some appropriations, but massively not all appropriations. And so you’re just flying in the face of 250 years of history. That’s settled? Well, it’s settled only to the extent no one’s brought it up and force this issue. Since Atlas Roofing is greatest contract. Nobody has had the, you know, chutzpah, to quote my people, to bring it up since Atlas Roofing.


Kate Shaw Oh, she’s amazing. But yes, more of that, please. She’s the guy who’s the real librarian of the United States Supreme Court. Yeah. Okay. Now, again, as seniority, with the emphasis on the, we got to Justice Neil M. Gorsuch.


Jonathan Van Ness Can I just say really quick that it’s really scary with the seniority that, like, Trump got so many in that his first person is like, oh, my God. Ugh That means. Ahhhh. There’s going to be a. No. Like there. That means that there’s probably going to be like a Chief Justice Gorsuch some day. Right? Like.


Leah Litman They’re going to be there for ever.


Melissa Murray Don’t even manifest that! Don’t even say that.


Kate Shaw Hopefully not. A lot. Most of the time, actually historically, they.


Jonathan Van Ness They don’t?


Kate Shaw Presidents pick chiefs from outside. When there’s a vacancy, they don’t elevate internally.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh is that how that works? So it’s not senority.


Kate Shaw Typically


Melissa Murray  Not always.


Kate Shaw Typically yeah. Rehnquist was inside and got elevated to be chief but the majority of them have been he was just a regular associate justice and then he was elevated to be sure that.


Jonathan Van Ness The president gets to decide who becomes chief justice?


Kate Shaw Mm hmm.


Jonathan Van Ness Only when they retire, though?


Kate Shaw When or die, you know, when you’re gone. Yeah. So when when when George W Bush was the president, when Rehnquist died while he was still the chief. And John Roberts was never an associate justice, he was just on the D.C. Circuit. And George W Bush nominated him directly to be, well, initially nominate him to be an associate in a different spot. But he was never that. And then he got nominated to be the chief justice after, you know, before ever having served in another position on the court. So I just don’t think that Gorsuch has. I think people like Scalia famously kind of wanted to be the chief when he was on the court. Never happened for him. I don’t think I don’t really know. But I kind of doubt Gorsuch even is delusional enough to think that that kind of.


Melissa Murray I don’t know.


Leah Litman Do not overestimate that guy’s delusions.


Melissa Murray *singing* Wishing and hoping and planning and praying.


Kate Shaw Or underestimate him.


Leah Litman Underestimate yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness God, I love that movie.


Kate Shaw But that think that he is you know, that it’s like wasn’t he just nominated and he’s like in the middle of the pack because drama in one term got to make three appointments Barack Obama extremely popular president elected twice served two terms Guess what? He made two in eight years. So the kind of asymmetry of the influence of our recent presidents on the court, on the justices, is pretty staggering, if you think about it.


Jonathan Van Ness You know, I have to say, now that I’ve Googled his picture, he looks guilty. He looks like he’s hiding something. He has a guilty smile.


Kate Shaw I don’t know what he’s hiding, but he’s always he always does look like he’s smirking and concealing. I think I totally agree with that. All right. So what do we want? We want to suggest that. Is there hope for him? Can he course really at this point.


Melissa Murray What’s your resolution for him, JVN?


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, no, not me. Take up skydiving. I think skydiving could be like such a great way to diffuse the stress of the court. You know, we’re coming into an election year. It’s like high stakes. You know, everyone’s so stressed. And I think people get these great adrenaline rush shares, and that could be good for him.


Melissa Murray A hobby would be good for him. You know, skydiving was a big part of Bostock, which is probably the Supreme Court decision for which Justice Gorsuch is best known. That was the case that concluded that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was discrimination on the basis of sex within the confines of Title seven. I’m one of the litigants, had been a skydiving instructor before.


Jonathan Van Ness And then he passed away, right?


Melissa Murray Yes, exactly. Zarda It was the Zarda case.


Leah Litman Yep.


Melissa Murray So, yeah, I mean, like, I think skydiving would be like, why not let me do it?


Jonathan Van Ness I just realized that I don’t like about myself. I literally you know what I remember about that case? I remember that. That it was about someone who’d passed away. And then I was like, I don’t want to die. And then and then I, like, didn’t read anything else. I was like, okay, like, but like I need to read things better. Like that was a queer rights case. Then they, like, went over my fucking gay head.


Melissa Murray That’s why we’re here.


Kate Shaw It was really. But it was also really it was really upsetting because this is somebody who was discriminated against and never challenged the injustice and did it. And actually it was successful, Right. Like the case did result in this interpretation that did protect you from discrimination. Oh, yeah. Both sexual orientation and gender identity. Right. One of the few sort of surprising bright spots from this court in recent years. And yet Donald Zarda is never live to see it. So it’s like not that’s not irrelevant at all to the case.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, I just I feel like I was like it was so sad. That was like what I remember from it. And then everything like, yeah.


Melissa Murray Justice delayed is justice denied.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, I’ll say I’m sorry. One more. This one. Yes. I need him to put the gel down and say yes to pomade. We’re doing so much gel. And I just think like a dry finish, like a nice dry finish could be, you know, he has a nice full head of hair.


Melissa Murray What pomade brand which you recommend? Not Murray’s pomade surely.


Jonathan Van Ness So actually, you know, this is like an oldie but goodie. But I like, like Aveda control paste. Like that.


Melissa Murray Oh very good. Yes.


Jonathan Van Ness A very nice lightweight pomade, you know, it’s buildable. Yeah. Yeah.


Melissa Murray You really have to emulsify it in both hands. Like I say, this is someone that’s short hair. Like, this is critical. Like, you ladies don’t know about the pomade game, but like, I. This is where I can offer fellow Virgo Neil Gorsuch some real guidance.


Jonathan Van Ness Melissa, can I give you, like, a hot hair tip on pomade?


Melissa Murray Oh. I’m listening.


Jonathan Van Ness I like to, like, hit my pomade with a blow dryer.


Melissa Murray I do that too! I do that too!


Jonathan Van Ness You know, it’s like be doing anything because.


Melissa Murray Am I a professional? Am I a professional hairstylist?


Jonathan Van Ness I always suspected that with your shape, because your short haircut shape, like the shape of your haircut. And I think I went off on you about this for about 15 minutes.


Melissa Murray You did.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah. The first time I met you.


Melissa Murray You can continue, though.


Jonathan Van Ness You know, I think it’s like you’re no your hair. It’s like it’s beyond reproach. Like you want to talk about no notes. It’s like there is no haircut shape on a face with no notes as much as your haircut shape. And you do go to the same person, right? Because you can’t get that perfection jumping around all the time.


Melissa Murray So I actually I like the person who did the shape initially was my favorite hairstylist in the world, Sarah Chic, who was at Marquis Salon in Oakland. But then I moved to New York, and so for a while I would try to fly back to see Sarah. And then finally I could not do that anymore. And so then I just had to, like, find someone in New York. But I got Sarah to cut my hair on a video, and I basically show it to my stylist in New York, constantly.


Jonathan Van Ness Okay, Gorsuch, get the pomade. Put down your gel you fucking nightmare. Oh, my God.


Leah Litman You know while we’re on reforming his personal image, I do think he could stand to smile more and just try to be a little bit more.


Melissa Murray He’s so much more handsome when he smiles.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes. And and also, like, I don’t know if you guys have done this before, but 2024 doesn’t needs to be the year where we start telling men to, like, smile more. You’re so much cuter when you smile.


Leah Litman Exactly.


Kate Shaw Similar vein. He does. He just kind of like he’s extra from the bench but like in not in a good way. Like he needs to take down.


Melissa Murray He’s on it and he could be on of confidence.


Kate Shaw Oh yeah. He’s a he needs a doorway down and he also needs to defer to his female colleagues much more, which we did see happen, I think once this term, once maybe ever. But having tried that out, Neil, maybe keep doing it.


Melissa Murray I do think if he’s going to be accepting boondoggles to Italy, I think it’s important for him to learn Italian, not just fantastico, like just learn a few more phrases. Right? Great. See, how do you say thank you for this free boondoggle?


Kate Shaw He should learn Russian and Italian.


Melissa Murray Yeah, I think so.


Leah Litman [AD]


Leah Litman Anything else for Neil before.


Melissa Murray We move?


Leah Litman No. Okay. Because I. We also have.


Melissa Murray You’re gonna have a field day with this one JVN.


Leah Litman I was just about to say we have a project on our hands because the next justice is Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And, you know, if Neil could maybe focus on smiling more and being more likable, I think Brett Kavanaugh could maybe focus less on being liked personally and more on the substance of his opinions and decisions. So that would be where I would start for him.


Kate Shaw Yeah, I mean, I would say he is. In terms of like the kind of emptiness of the sort of like schtick and performance. And he writes concurrences all the time that are like bullet point lists. Yeah, but written as though, like lists are arguments. So there’s not actually any argumentation there. It’s just like a list of things.


Melissa Murray Like if I submitted my grocery list to the U.S. reports, like, it’s like.


Kate Shaw Those are.


Melissa Murray Greek yogurt.


Kate Shaw Yeah. So I guess another way to put that resolution is that sometimes remember that sometimes silence is a virtue. In sometimes doing nothing is the most important contribution. So I send that off to him.


Melissa Murray But JVN I think you have.


Leah Litman I feel like JVN yeah.


Melissa Murray Yeah, you’re probably. You’re looking him up, aren’t you?


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah. I’m deep in my analysis.


Melissa Murray What’s the read?


Jonathan Van Ness I have a few notes.


Melissa Murray Okay.


Jonathan Van Ness The most important one is like flossing and teeth whitening. I just think that, like, really getting a little bit of, like, we’re just really the teeth. I hate to say it. I don’t want to be a bitch from hell, but I also a damn veneers. I think we could be even there. Like it might even be. So I just got to take it all out and start over, and I think he could maybe be there. The other thing I was going to say is I think I mean.


Melissa Murray Smile actives could be really great here.


Jonathan Van Ness What’s that again?


Leah Litman Coffee. That’s a teeth whitening paste that you can mix in with your toothpaste and, you know, beer, wine and coffee do stain your teeth.


Melissa Murray Beer.


Jonathan Van Ness Even like, even like water picking if you don’t want to floss. Like, that could be fun.


Melissa Murray To be very clear, I don’t think Brett Kavanaugh is the only person that requires this kind of guidance. I just saw some photos of Prince William and I was like, whoa. Like a lot going on


Jonathan Van Ness I will say, though, at least for William versus Harry. And I mean, I’m not trying to, you know, go into these like political like.


Melissa Murray You’re treading in dangerous waters. I just want to advise you.


Jonathan Van Ness I just I do this. The only thing I will say, look, I love Meghan more than anything, so don’t even come for me, okay? I love Meghan. Okay? So I really, I I’m obsessed. But this is what I will say for, like, William style choices versus Harry’s, just right now. I do feel that, like William, I really appreciated that he just said, You know what? I’m going to take this hair off. It’s time for me to just really take this hair down. And I just feel that unless Harry is going to go to Turkey and really commit like or like that TikTok journey of that boy who was like, I’m going to regrow my hair. And he was so cute, like, and it didn’t really look like that much different than all of a that was like, Oh my God his hair’s so much thicker. But yeah, like that, I just feel like. Harry, really, I just I am worried about that.


Melissa Murray I agree with this read. I do. I mean, like, but I just.


Jonathan Van Ness And I am I’m attracted to him as well.


Melissa Murray He, I mean, he has a lot of BDE and I don’t think William always has that, but.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh.


Melissa Murray Yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, you think Harry does?


Melissa Murray I do.


Jonathan Van Ness See the the hair, the haircuts really gotten in the way of that for me since the wedding.


Melissa Murray You can’t see it though. You can’t like, you can’t really see it unless you’re looking from the top.


Jonathan Van Ness Honey, I I’m.


Melissa Murray Okay. You are the expert.


Jonathan Van Ness I’m sorry but like.


Kate Shaw Looking from all the angles.


Jonathan Van Ness No, this is just like sometimes, you know, there’s this rose colored glasses thing, and sometimes when we really love someone and hard for us, and I. It’s like, because Meghan’s hair and vibe is, like, beyond reproach. Yeah, it’s so good. And. And I just think, you know, when someone standing next to that, you’re like, oh my God, like you reflected glory. Yeah, you have amazing. And it’s no.


Melissa Murray Like, that’s probably right. I’ve probably been looking through Meghan colored glasses. You’re right.


Jonathan Van Ness It’s like, it’s not your fault. I’ve never called you out on anything before in our whole friendship and you know that.


Melissa Murray You’re right. And I mean, here’s the thing. I can accept this critique, right? Like, I can take. I can take the note. I can take the note.


Jonathan Van Ness It could even just be going shorter. It doesn’t even have to be a shave or buzzed head. It could even just be like really got to remember when like, William was giving you like bald daddy for a lot, but he wasn’t shaved. He was like, giving you like, my grandpa haircut. It could even be that. Like, that’s even you just. But something about the top. We have to talk about that. But I have one really important thing for Brett Kavanaugh are for justice. What I think there’s my TikTok and Instagram is Nandita with these incredible Korean hairstylists, and they do these like perms and like root lifts.


Melissa Murray A success perm for Brett Kavanaugh.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah, he needs like perm the sides down like to like the sides to be perm down. And he’s like because like the balance is all fucked up, like the heavy side. Like, the part’s not right. It’s all fucked up. He needs like a Korean, like really good perm, like root lift artist to come in here and give him like a great K-Pop little. I just need more judges on that. Like if you’re trying to be this slick used car salesman of, you know, like taking away everyone’s right, It’s like, can you just, like, grease that hair up and get it together? Like, and when I just. I just. It should be a little more polished. I need some mousse. I want some hair. Spray. I would like a Beverly Hills woman blow dry style on him. And that would make me feel with no volume on the sides, like that’s what I need.


Leah Litman I mean, more zhuzh on that hair. More zhuzh on the opinions like his opinion in Reed versus Gertz right could could have stead some like actual reasons.


Melissa Murray I mean I do think he could probably get in on the Gorsuch pomade game right like on the sides like to just keep it down right.


Jonathan Van Ness And give some definition on it as well. Like.


Melissa Murray Yeah, make it look a little piecier.


Jonathan Van Ness I don’t like I’ll show you this. I really have a problem with this shape, you guys. Let’s let’s get into it. Let me get out the computer so we can get into our replay. Also, the skins are really the texture is bad. I think we need to get into some retinol because the skin is so bad now. It’s really bad for you guys.


Melissa Murray Maybe a chemical peel.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes. He’s really struggling with uneven skin texture.


Melissa Murray Some rosacea here, too.


Jonathan Van Ness I was going to get the same thing. But now, now that we talked about the skin, let’s go into the hair. Do you see how this is like all this volume over here? But then over here, it’s kind of flattish.


Leah Litman Eighties, Frat boy.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah.


Leah Litman Eighties frat boy.


Jonathan Van Ness But I want some mousse here. You know, not that he deserves that, but the mousse and some root left over here. It’s a balance you see, because we have all this volume here and it’s too much volume too high up. So nothing is really working for me here.


Melissa Murray Who do you think his hair like Guide should be? Who’s the person he should be trying to emulate here?


Jonathan Van Ness Like someone? Yeah, like jungkook from, like BTS. Like I want him to have like, I really want, like, a K-Pop, like, vibe to his hair. I think, like, a little younger, you know?


Melissa Murray All right, So more K-Pop, less Georgetown.


Jonathan Van Ness I thought he was like, a fear. Oh, my God. What if you don’t like something? When people get in car accidents, they come back with, like, a totally different accent. What if he gotten, like, a car accident and then, like, became liberal or, like, ran into a train station.


Melissa Murray That would change our whole show.


Jonathan Van Ness And he survived it. And then he was like, Oh, my God. Like trans rights, women’s rights, pro queer abortion rights. Like I need another case to fix my errors. And then that’s when his hair would get cute. That’s when he would start changing his hairdresser.


Melissa Murray That’s like that, that movie with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum.


Leah Litman Well, I was just going to say, like sometimes when you fix people’s hair, you can just like fix their entire life.


Melissa Murray So I think there’s a show about this.


Jonathan Van Ness Is that huh, My purpose? I do like. Lean into Republicans and that like we’re like I kind of withhold my best advice from them sometimes, but I guess I just gave him real advice on here on how I felt like, yes, wow.


Kate Shaw I’m one I’m actually really getting now impatient to hear what you have to say about Amy Coney Barrett, because there’s all kinds of stuff going on with her hair. Can I ask you to pull up multiple pictures? Sometimes she gets a little curl going on the bench. So I would say if we can find a couple of different images, I feel like there is a lot this is like a whole palette.


Jonathan Van Ness Well, here I would say I think, oh, God, she really she really scares me. She really does. There is a look in her eye. That is when I zoomed in. I honestly like my heart, kind of like I’m not that’s like, really feel like there’s something on her eyes that I actually have the chills. Like, do I have covered or is that I’m scared?


Leah Litman I there is something to give a lot of people covered at her Rose Garden.


Jonathan Van Ness I do feel that there is a chunky there’s quite a chunky highlight that we’re seeing here, which I think is interesting. It is like quite chunky and I guess I wouldn’t have seen that coming. I also can tell that her colorist, she doesn’t pay a lot because when I do, I’m not trying to be, but when I do retouch is because, you know, I like that, you know, your hairline is like fine. Her hair like it’s not like that. Like this hair. It’s like, finer than like all of the like your real hair.


Kate Shaw On the temple right in the front.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes. Still, like, if you put the same hair color on someone’s base, the front always takes like two shades darker because it’s just way more fine. So if you ever see like that inky dark hair color on someone’s hairline, but then when their hair is down, it’s all like lighter. That’s because the hairdresser, like, didn’t mix two formulas. You also like like a hair color goes on a scale from 1 to 10 one, the darkest tends the lightest. There are like highlights and you can technically go higher than a ten, but just for purposes of ease. So like if I was doing like a root retouch of like a five, I would always make the hairline like a seven. And then that ends up looking like balanced.


Melissa Murray More natural.


Jonathan Van Ness She has this like inky ass hairline that just says, like my colorist doesn’t know what they’re doing. I pay like 95 for a partial highlight.


Melissa Murray I’m going to intervene here, like, Yeah, because I do have some sympathy for this. Like, what if we go back to the wall, look at our pictures from South Bend where she was going to her regular hairstylist and then compare them to her pictures now that she’s in D.C., because I think this could be an issue.


Jonathan Van Ness What year was that?


Melissa Murray She came on the court in 2020 before she was a judge on the seventh Circuit, Indiana, living in South Bend, where I think she had her regular hair.


Jonathan Van Ness This was probably who was doing this color that this. This must be okay. Do we think that this picture was from when she was a judge in.


Melissa Murray Yeah.


Leah Litman Yes.


Jonathan Van Ness Okay.


Melissa Murray So maybe her South Bend colorist did this. Like, you see improvement now that she’s in DC?


Jonathan Van Ness Okay, let’s. Let’s do Amy Barrett. How do you say her name? Coney Barrett.


Melissa Murray Amy Coney Barrett


Jonathan Van Ness Yes. I never really took the time to learn all the way because I was just like, Kill me. 20, 23. Okay, let’s look now. Images. Okay.


Melissa Murray She just gave a speech the other day. There might be an image from that.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah. I will say this colorist does is doing a more diffused highlight. Certainly, she’s gotten a little bit lighter.


Melissa Murray Okay. Little bit of a glow up.


Jonathan Van Ness The hairline is still a little inky, though I have to say. I think we’re not having to a two color application the way the I-word, the way that we typically do in L.A. it’s a very like L.A., New York thing. You see an inkier hairline on the whole on the East Coast, L.A. it’s like everyone does, like in like good salons. But yeah, what a nightmare. I just really think that I am so sad. I don’t even want to read her looks because the word like the worst part is, is that like that, I will just never get over it. Like these BEEP from hell did not approve Merrick Garland for ten months because there wasn’t enough time from February to November.


Melissa Murray People had to vote.


Jonathan Van Ness This woman got through in two weeks while votes were like the hypocrisy, like, I don’t even have to read her looks because these fucking patriarchal, oppressive forms. Boy did this woman upon this country, this justice. I hate all of this.


Leah Litman All of the chunky highlights represent different parts of the country that voted against her as she was being confirmed. So you can think about it that way.


Jonathan Van Ness Although I will say in this lecture that I just found of her from September of 2020, her hair has never looked better than this picture. You know this.


Melissa Murray Okay. Lets see it.


Jonathan Van Ness Is this her? Is that her?


Melissa Murray That is her. Wait where is that?


Jonathan Van Ness Whoever styled her hair this day.


Melissa Murray Oh, she did look good during the confirmation hearing.


Jonathan Van Ness Yeah. This hair was next level. Like the hair lines. Perfect. The placements. Gorgeous. I hate to give her a compliment. Her eyes don’t look so fucking. I’m going to bore you with my. For, like, not being like, if she saw me in an alley, she’d be like, Listen up. If you don’t start. I swear to God. Like, that’s what I feel she would say to me.


Leah Litman In some ways. Like, we have to imagine what she says because she sometimes doesn’t explain herself in the important decisions. And so maybe unlike what we said about Justice Kavanaugh, it would be great if Justice Barrett would say more, but not like really weird long efforts to reconcile the major questions doctrine with textualism. But instead, when you cast the fifth vote to overrule Roe, say something like, Tell us why you’re doing so. Say it to our faces.


Jonathan Van Ness Do you know what that’s giving? Say something. I’m giving up on you. Yes.


Leah Litman Yes, yes.


Jonathan Van Ness So sad.


Leah Litman Very much.


Melissa Murray I also I think there are moments to where Justice Barrett is on the verge of literally slapping one of her conservative colleagues. I think she’s a very tightly coiled presence, sometimes at oral argument. And I’m just like, you know what? I think you should just let that out. There’s a little in particular. Yeah, Yeah, I’m thinking about elaborate. There are just these moments where she literally you just like you can tell she like, I don’t know, it just seems very tightly coiled. Like she wants to tell Justice Alito to, like, sit down, have a seat. And I am just I’m you know, I don’t fight for you to be more or what? Know, just like to just shut up and let other people do things. And you don’t have to be decorous. Intra partizan squabbling is very in vogue right now. See the House Republican. So if you’re feeling that I say act on it, let him know that you are the one who is 30 more years in this bitch, right?


Leah Litman Indeed.


Kate Shaw All right. We saved the best for last, but I think we should now turn to Justice Jackson. The Queen. The queen never change. That’s our big New Year’s resolution. Keep doing exactly what you’re doing. Keep Maybe one example of what you should keep doing is to continue exploiting this area. Adam Questioning. That’s the questioning at the end of the oral arguments. She goes last, she gets to sort of do cleanup, figure out what kind of themes and notes the argument should end on. Give the advocate the opportunity to, you know, help her help them or help whatever side she wants to help. There are like a million different clips we could play here. And we do have to include this clip from Rahimi, which was we were only halfway through the term, but so far definitely the leading contender for the most important and best moment of the term. And I highly doubt anything will top it. So let’s play that here.


Clip But we have a history and traditions test. I guess I’m a little troubled by having a history and traditions test that also requires some sort of culling of the history so that only certain people’s history counts. So what do we do with that is not a flaw. With respect to the test final, let me just ask you prospectively, from the standpoint of a legislator today, I mean, we’ve been talking about sort of the retrospective view of this. You know, when there’s an existing gun control measure that’s being challenged, how do we determine by looking at history whether or not it’s constitutional? But let’s say I’m a legislator today in Maine, for example, and I’m very concerned about what has happened in that community. And my people, the constituents are asking me to do something. Do you read Bruin as step one being go to the archives and try to determine whether or not there’s some historical analog for the kinds of legislation that I’m considering?


Melissa Murray Absolutely. Iconic resolution continue to be 100% that bitch keep taking DNA tests and confirming it.


Jonathan Van Ness Just be that healthy, safe girl. Maybe don’t do any more hobbies because you’re so perfect.


Melissa Murray Yes. Yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness Like don’t mess with perfection is her resolution.


Kate Shaw Done.


Leah Litman Yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness Oh, and you know what I always say to my agent? I’ll be like, just because it’s industry standard, does it make it right? It’s like my favorite thing to say. So maybe she could, like, like, pitch a new resolution for not having to get the door.


Leah Litman Oh, yeah.


Melissa Murray Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Jonathan Van Ness Still kind of stuck on that.


Melissa Murray Her look is next level. The sister locs are great. Her skin is flawless.


Jonathan Van Ness Now. I don’t, I don’t want to like this is like because I love her hair so much it literally needs nothing but just like if she ever did like a Vanity Fair article or like it’s like if she ever did like Goddess locks, like, would there’s like, that little, like, gorgeous little wave like. But I heard this and she like, she doesn’t need anything like I always tell me.


Melissa Murray Speaking of photoshoots there wasn’t a Vogue photoshoot that she did and I think Annie Leibovitz did the photos. And like Annie Leibovitz cannot like black women. I’m just saying it’s a big problem. It’s a big blind spot. So the New Year’s resolution, like, don’t let Annie Leibovitz take her.


Jonathan Van Ness Yes. This girl who I met in New Orleans and queer, I love her so much. She’s @nolabraider on Instagram. She’s like, So the goddess locks that she does is like, they’re still taking Oh, my God. And like, the shape is like I. They have chills again. They must not be cold. But I just must like, respond with chills to like really good or really bad thoughts, like, but that’s like a really good thought. I also just wanted to call attention to something that you just like casually said earlier, Melissa And then you just like so, like stop so casually opening a can of like, vocabulary bass. Like you’re just you said decorous. I had to google what that meant. That was like, what a good word. That was like a literally $75 word. I’ve never heard it in my life, and I’ve never heard that word in my life before. Like, do you like what a good word.


Melissa Murray It’s a great word, I think I.


Jonathan Van Ness Do you use that on this podcast all the time? Do people know that word?


Melissa Murray Not all the time? I think occasionally, yeah. I probably learned it studying for the SAT.


Leah Litman As someone would say, not sporadically.


Melissa Murray Episodically.


Leah Litman So, you know, that’s the core. Maybe we can just briefly wrap up with some New Year’s resolutions for Strict Scrutiny and JVN.


Melissa Murray Stay awesome.


Leah Litman More collaborations with JVN.


Jonathan Van Ness I’ll be your Latoya, your Latvia or whatever. The fourth member of Destiny’s Child was that got kicked out.


Melissa Murray Latoya, Latoya, Latoya Luckett.


Jonathan Van Ness We’re still like a good, good. We’re still on good terms.


Melissa Murray We’re still friends and we still get invited to the concert. Exactly.


Jonathan Van Ness Perfect. What else?


Melissa Murray I think we should make more candle sets. And if you happen to purchase our special edition candle sets for the holidays, you know exactly what I mean. Because these candles smell like the interior of a private jet, an ethical lapse and vibes, not law. And they were absolutely amazing. And they were amazing, amazing holiday gifts. And I think we should do it again.


Jonathan Van Ness Kate.


Kate Shaw I have a serious resolution, actually, not for us, but for Article three judges out there. So as 2024 kicks off, there are a lot of judges on the federal bench who are eligible to retire or take senior status, which would open up additional seats for President Biden to fill. And I would just say to all of those eligible but still sitting judges, think about your legacy. Think about Trump and his advisors having soured on the Federalist Society as to mainstream. Think about judge make America three point know, right? Like whatever the more extreme version of that is in your chambers sitting at your desk, second guessing science reviving the Comstock Act. Think about all that. Think about having the power to prevent it, and then start drafting your letter to President Biden informing him of your retirement.


Melissa Murray I love that Kate actually had a real substantive resolution like fuck candles, like let’s face the court.


Jonathan Van Ness That was a really good.


Kate Shaw They’re all Important.


Jonathan Van Ness And my resolution is to be more like you guys. I want to be like, more substantive and like, pay better attention and then not stop talking about the election for the next 11 months.


Leah Litman That’s a good resolution.


Melissa Murray That’s a resolution that’s like, let’s not stop talking about the election for the next 11 months. Let’s definitely do everything we can to help get out the vote, talk about the issues and leave no power on the table. As our friend and queen Sherrilyn Ifill instructs us to do.


Jonathan Van Ness And not to give you guys more work to do. But also, just as I was thinking about it, you know, it could also be a fun resolution for you guys, which I know we use that we’re doing our own. But I would be so interested because I like obviously started listening a lot since I met you guys. I like such a big and it’d be cool if you guys did like a special or like a series of specials on state Supreme courts. Like Wisconsin’s going fucking off right now. A lot of them. I mean, like really consequential decisions as far as like allowing Trump on the ballot, even with the insurrection, like, and like, there’s just such, like, there’s a lot there in terms of.


Melissa Murray It’s like you’re in our heads.


Leah Litman We will take that note and we will apply that because we know good advice when we hear it.


Melissa Murray We do.


Jonathan Van Ness Thanks for having me, you guys. I love you so much.


Kate Shaw Thank you so much for coming on.


Melissa Murray Strict Scrutiny is a Crooked Media production hosted and executive produced by Leah Litman, me, Melissa Murray and Kate Shaw. We are produced and edited by Melody Rowell, and our associate producer is Ashley Mizuho. We get audio support from Kyle Seglin and Charlotte Landes with music by Eddie Cooper, production support from Madeleine Heringer and Ari Schwartz. And if you haven’t already, be sure. In the New Year to subscribe to strict scrutiny, make that your resolution and you can do so in your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode. And if you really want to help your friends and loved ones to find the show, please rate and us. It really helps, especially if it’s a deserved five stars. Happy New Year.