The current Supreme Court seems fairly indifferent to the right to privacy, the legal protection upheld by the 1965 case Griswold vs. Connecticut, first laid out in an 1890 paper as the “right to be let alone.” The leaked draft decision earlier this month on Dobbs vs. Jackson would overturn Roe v. Wade on the grounds that personal health decisions like abortion are not protected under that right. If upheld, the decision would, in turn, undermine several other civil liberties that hinge on the right to privacy — contraception, gay and interracial marriage, and non-procreative sex among them.
This would be an unpopular, if catacl decision. You can tell because polling data on Roe finds that Americans support the 1973 ruling by a ratio of two-to-one; just 28 percent of the voting public want it struck down. You can also tell because some of the Supreme Court justices who signed on to the majority draft have been greeted by protestors outside their houses for the past two weeks. Republicans, who spent the past year defending the Jan. 6 insurrection as “tourism,” and some Democrats, who never miss a chance to scold the activist wing of their own party, have handled this with typical aplomb. I’d guess privacy sounds fine right about now.
On an unrelated note, here’s the Gawker Review of Supreme Court Justice Houses.
You remember Bret, friend of Squi and Timmy, who signed onto the majority draft opinion that would strip America of abortion rights. He lives in the sleepy D.C. suburb of Chevy Chase, MD, inside this lemon-chiffon number that he and his wife, Ashley, bought for $1.6 million in 2006. It’s cute, though one might think it’d look slightly more expensive given that in 2016, Kavanaugh disclosed up to $200,000 in debt for, among other things, “home improvements.” But in fairness to him, some of that debt went to “buying Washington Nationals baseball tickets over the past decade.” He’s spending on experience, and who can blame him for that.
Alito, the hard-right, George W. Bush-appointed judge who authored the Dobbs draft, has always fiercely defended the rights of employers from predatory institutions like unions and wombs. Recall that he wrote the majority opinion for Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which found that private corporations could wriggle out of certain regulations — like paying for insurance to cover contraception — under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; and for Janus v. AFSCME, which financially kneecapped organized labor by preventing public-sector unions from collecting dues from non-members, even though they benefit from union-negotiated contracts.
It might follow that his home in Alexandria, VA would not look like a predatory institution itself. But this is not the case. Alito’s big brick newish-build resembles the austere cave where an unstable financial planner might find refuge after stabbing his family.
Sonia Sotomayor’s home, much like her impact on the conservative-majority Court, is understated. According to DCist, the justice paid $600,000 in 2012 for a two-bedroom condo in what Above The Law reader described variously as a “sad building,” that looks “ultra-modern,” “like something out of a Tim Burton movie,” and “very cartoony,” with a lobby that “belongs in a nursing home.” In any case, Sotomayor’s unit is apparently “much nicer.” It’s near the “hip” U-street neighborhood in D.C. (unclear if the photo below is her actual condo or just a photo of the unit; either way, always nice to have a breakfast bar). At the time, she also owned a smaller condo in Greenwich Village, which she bought back in 1998. Good for her.
A 2013 Times article noted that, in her office, the Justice kept “a bag overflowing with characters from ‘Sesame Street,’ where she has been known to dispense advice.” Perhaps she has more merch squirreled away off camera.
Clarence! The handsy Justice sucks in every way imaginable — his decisions, his wife, and this home, clearly designed for a family that calls the police on trick-or-treaters. It is in Fairfax Station, VA, according to BigWhigDigs.com, a town that was named for a railroad station and has very little else of note. There are likely some nice TVs inside; according to Jane Mayer, who has written extensively about Thomas, he spent much of his law school years watching football during lectures. But it does seem hard to heat. All that brick and all those windows — seems bound to have some leaks.
It’s unclear what tepid queen Kagan’s house looks like, but the Washington Post reported in 2017 that the Justice lives in a Logan Circle townhouse. We can assume it’s pretty nice — she sold her old home in Cambridge, MA for $1.53 million in 2009, and initially rented a “luxury apartment downtown” in D.C., according to Above the Law. At the time, she’d been touring a rowhouse that ran in the “low seven figures,” in an area they described as “rapidly gentrifying, popular with the LGBT community.” Rock on.
AMY CONEY BARRETT
Barrett moved last year from a 4,232-sq. foot (or 605-sq. feet for each of her seven children) “Arts and Crafts style house” in South Bend, IN (above) to this sexless number in Falls Church, VA (below). Easily the ugliest of the bunch.
Father Time Stephen Breyer has opted out of putting his home on Google Images, but we do know some things about his home. For one, it is in Georgetown. For another, it was burgled in 2012.
According to the Washington Post, the burglar “entered by breaking a pane of glass near the front door,” and stole “a pair of $500 silver candlesticks and a 100-piece set of silver valued at $2,500.” Breyer also has a vacation house on the West Indian island of Nevis, which, as it happens, was also burgled in 2012. The Post reported that a “a masked, machete-wielding man” broke in and took about $1,000.
Tough luck. But he probably has a nice-looking house. As of 2017, he was the Court’s richest justice, with an estimated minimum net worth of $6.1 million.
After Antonin Scalia banged his first gavel in hell and Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to replace him, the rigid originalist put his Boulder, Colorado home on the market for $1.7 million. The listing described it as a “horse lovers’ paradise,” so presumably Neil rode the ponies after a hard day of defending the Bush administration’s torture practices (technically, he bought the house two years later — for $1.03 million in 2007 — but let’s not get in the weeds). The house also had these amenities:
The country-style property is a four-bedroom, five-bath home in northeast Boulder. Includes an orchard, and a three-stall barn and paddocks. The three-acre property features professionally landscaped gardens and a heated swimming pool.
At the time, Town & Country did a full interior spread. The same cannot be said for Gorsuch’s current residence, which is not visible online.
The Chief Justice lives in Chevy Chase, MD, much like Brett Kavanagh and his Supreme Court predecessor, Sandra Day O’Connor. Roberts has gone to great, if largely cynical and calculated, lengths to show that he cares about the appearance of the Supreme Court, and specifically its supposed neutrality. Appropriately, he lives in this very neutral-appearing white-brick colonial abode, that probably belies some deeply conservative decor. According to Underneath Their Robes, it was worth $1.3 million in 2005; and those rumors that Roberts “illegally trimmed his trees” were not true.
Roberts also has a vacation home on Hupper Island, off the coast of the St. George peninsula in Maine. According to the Bangor Daily News, it was formerly owned by Stephen Thomas, who hosted the home improvement show “This Old House.”
Which Justice has the classiest digs? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures and details welcome.