Sotomayor and Kagan Take “Liberty” with their Neck Doilies

October 16th, 2013

Tony Mauro writes about a cool new portrait of the four female Justices that will be unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery on 10/28.

Shanks said he strived to capture the four justices’ unique characteristics, with O’Connor and Ginsburg seated on a blue damask sofa, and newcomers Sotomayor and Kagan standing behind them. Shanks introduced architectural features of the court into the work by including a window that looks into the building’s courtyard, and a mirror that reflects a bookcase filled with legal tomes.

Perhaps even cooler, the painter tried to capture their neck doilies!

The justices were in their black robes, but Shanks nonetheless was able to highlight their different preferences for neckwear. O’Connor wore a lengthy white lace jabot, while Ginsburg’s was beaded. As is their custom, Sotomayor and Kagan wore only “minimal white collars,” Shanks said. “The longer they are there, I guess the more liberty they take with their decorations.”

Kagan actually commented on this decision on C-SPAN.

“I think you just have to do what makes you feel comfortable. In my real life I’m not a frilly, lacy person. Some of the things people wear just struck me as not something I felt comfortable with. I have, on occasion, worn a white scarf under my robe. I have worn that for all of our pictures and my investiture. I wear pearls a lot. I think the robe is a symbol of the impersonality of the law.”