I have often claimed that I make friends wherever I go. Since that’s not really always true, I find it immensely reassuring to know that there is one place I can go where I’ll be identified as a “friend.” No, it’s not a certain bar in Boston where everyone knows my name—it’s a bar of a different sort.
There’s a lot to be said for the Supreme Court, home of the Highest Court in the Land and where its justices can look forward to a bobbleheaded future. It even has the ability to turn adversaries into friends. How? By identifying them as such, of course.
In a distinct shift from the Rehnquist Court of yesteryear, in the Roberts Court, you’re far more likely to hear lawyers from either side using the word “friend” instead of “opponent” when addressing each other or Justices making reference to “your friend.” There are a couple reasons for this. One being that the D.C. bar is a small, small world, where it’s pretty likely that those lawyers facing off are actually friends or at least know each other. Another could be the Chief Justice’s desire to adjust the tone of oral arguments. Some might find that reason to be a bit faux . Granted, it could be a play right out of Mean Girls to call your adversary your friend, but it appears to be catching on with Justices Kennedy and Scalia hopping on the bandwagon. However, both Justice Alito and Justice Sotomayor are firmly in the camp of not letting fetch—I mean friend—happen. To that I say, Justices Alito and Sotomayor, why can’t we be friends?