Wednesday, July 6, 2016

19th C. Supreme Court Etiquette

Certain forms and ceremonies are necessary, and the dignity of the Supreme Court must be maintained. In other words, a certain etiquette must be maintained.

Extreme Court Etiquette 

The etiquette of the Supreme Court at Washington is a great deal severer than that of our Court of Appeals in this city. A correspondent of the Philadelphia Press gives an idea of the rules prevailing as follows : 

I happened to drop into the United States Supreme Court the other day, and there I met a distinguished Philadelphia lawyer. He was in the blackest and shiniest of broadcloth from bis head to his heels. He held in his hand a tall hat, a small black necktie encircled the whitest of collars, and his general appearance suggested a funeral. 

As this gentleman (I dare not name him) is somewhat noted for his rather flashy attire, I could not exactly understand what was the matter, especially as he had no crape on his hat. He noticed me eyeing him and asked what was the matter. I told him he looked more like a Baptist preacher than a Philadelphia lawyer. "Oh," he answered quickly, "it's this darned Court. 

I hate these clothes, and at home I never wear anything but grays or stripes and plaids, with bright neckties, but the last time I had a case in this Court, I was not allowed to make my argument because I wore a short, speckled coat and trousers, with a blue necktie. I was told that I was not properly dressed to appear before this Court, and that I must wear black clothes. I have another case here now and so you see, I am dressed in this outlandish style. But I shall charge this suit to my client, ' and when I get home I'll have my wife put these things away in camphor and mark them 'Supreme Court.'" 

Upon inquiry I found, what I never knew before, that the Supreme Court forbids lawyers to wear within its bar anything but black. The weather may be as hot as the region toward which all of us sinners are tending, but no grateful seersucker or linen duster, or white duck is permissible. 

The nine old duffers in easy chairs may nod and snooze, and have their ease, but you must dress in black. It is probably right, for certain forms and ceremonies are necessary, and the dignity of the Court must be maintained. — Sacramento Daily Union, 1883

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