In Hollywood, there’s a star on the Walk of Fame. In sports, there’s the immortality of a retired jersey. In law, bobbleheads are the benchmark of success.
The Green Bag, an “entertaining” law journal, has produced fifteen Supreme Court bobbleheads since 2003. The latest justice to receive the honor? Clarence Thomas.
The Clarence Thomas Annotated Bobblehead, which will be released in the fall to commemorate Justice Thomas' 20 years on the Court, will feature the Justice wielding a flag and standing atop the pizza boxes of justice.
Instead of a nod to the preferred dinner choice at Thomas' annual law-clerk screening of The Fountainhead, the pizza boxes reference Thomas' opinion in National Cable & Telecommunication Association v. Brand X Internet Services, in which Thomas wrote, "One can pick up a pizza rather than having it delivered ... By contrast, the Commission reasonably concluded, a consumer cannot purchase Internet service without also purchasing a connection to the Internet."
The flag refers to a concurrence in a 2004 case over whether public school children should recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Green Bag bobblehead tradition started with the immortalization of then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2003. Rehnquist discovered the bobblehead on his blotter one morning, and was so amused that he kept it in his office. Seven other current or recent justices - Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, and now Thomas - have since been honored. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is next on the list for a doll, reports CNN.
The Supreme Court bobbleheads are produced in extremely limited quantities, (1000 to 2000 dolls), not sold in stores, and are only available to The Green Bag's subscribers. The journal also donates free copies to legal aid groups and law school for nonprofit fundraising and promotion.
In short, the only thing more difficult than getting your hands on your own bobblehead is being featured as one. Of the 112 Supreme Court justices, only 14 have been turned into bobbleheads. Justice Louis Brandeis is the only justice to be featured in two bobblehead designs. Justice Souter's doll, which feature the jurist wearing a gold chain in reference to his opinion in a copyright case involving 2 Live Crew, plays a song by Modest Mouse. Justice Scalia's doll is the rarest; only one was made according to The New York Times.
- National Cable & Telecommunications Association v. Brand X Internet Services (FindLaw's Case Law)
- Supreme Court Justice to Officiate Kennedy Wedding (FindLaw's Supreme Court blog)
- Nine Plus: Supreme Court Clerks by the Numbers (FindLaw's Supreme Court blog)