OT09 Term Begins, SCOTUS Plays Musical Chairs. New Bench Seating Arrangement.

October 5th, 2009

Today is the day! October 5, the beginning of the Supreme Court’s October 2009 Term.

In light of Justice Souter’s departure, and Justice Sotomayor’s arrival,I realized that the Nine will play a bit of musical chairs on the bench. As you may know, the Justices are seated by order of seniority, with the Chief in the middle. The most senior associate justice sits to his left, next senior associate justice sits to his right, and it alternates down the bench. With the new configuration, Justice Sotomayor will take Justice Alito’s seat. Alito J., no longer the baby of the court, gets to move on up to the left side. I had tickets to arguments today, but sadly, duty of my court calls. I’ll listen to the recorded arguments later. I’m curious to see how Sotomayor, J., gets settled in.

From left to right.

Alito Ginsburg Kennedy Stevens Roberts Scalia Thomas Breyer Sotomayor
Seat 1 Seat 2 Seat 3 Seat 4 Seat 5 Seat 6 Seat 7 Seat 8 Seat 9

It’s pretty cool that Nino and Thomas will be sitting next to each other. Maybe Nino can break Thomas out of his quiet streak. And Thomas is still sitting next to Breyer, his former benchmate, so they can continue yukking it up while the oral advocates sweat it out.

And, as I previously blogged, here is a picture of the new Nine assembled:

The New Portrait of the New Nine

The New Portrait of the New Nine

They are all able to pose for their individual shots. Why can’t they pose, even for a second, for the group shot?