“Well,” Scalia says, “neither of you have husbands.”
“Oh my God,” Breyer says.
Kennedy starts scribbling. The rest of the room falls silent and watches him.
“What is it?” Sotomayor asks. “Do you think you’ve got it?”
Kennedy holds up a detailed picture of Roberts high-fiving a squirrel. “It just came to me,” he says. “Is this helpful?”
“No,” Ginsburg says.
Scalia shakes his head. “The Founders would have drawn a marmoset.”
“Oh my God, Antonin,” Breyer says, “the Founders didn’t have flush toilets, and you use those all the time.”
“Do I?” Scalia asks, glowering. “Maybe I just go stand inside them from time to time to be polite. Maybe I conceal an 18th-century chamber pot beneath my robes. Maybe I’m wearing a tiny tri-cornered hat somewhere on my person AS WE SIT HERE. MAYBE — ”
There is a knock at the door. Roberts frantically writes on the board — “Precedent!” “Concur/dissent,” “Softball was a good idea!” “Jurisprudence, and LOTS of it!” — to make it appear something is being accomplished.
“Somebody ordered pizza?” a voice asks.
Thomas silently raises his hand.
“Finally, someone has done something productive,” Ginsburg says.
“Wow,” the delivery guy says, unloading pizzas divided, 5 to 4, with very different toppings. “So this is the Supreme Court? Are you Justice Roberts? I’m a big fan. I loved Citizens United. And Obamacare? Man! Really subversive, totally wild. Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.” He glances at the board. “Looks like you’re making some good progress.”
“Oh,” Roberts says, smiling a little too wide. “Oh yeah. Tons of progress.”
“We’re basically done with the decisions,” Kennedy says. “We just like to polish them before we send them out.”
“Yeah,” everyone says, unanimously. They smile in silence as the pizza guy leaves.
“Whew,” Alito says. “That was close.”
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog at washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost.