Antonin Scalia

What's That You're Playing With In Your Pocket?


Once upon a time it was a dark and stormy night, and quicker than you can say Jack Robinson, the ink-stained wretches of the fourth estate, who are ordinarily as proud as peacocks about their gift of gab, were at sixes and sevens, hoping against hope to find a new political clich√© that was not as old as the hills. Sad to report, the cupboard was bare, and so the readers were silent as a mouse as the ladies and gentlemen of the press for the umpteenth time trotted out…The Old Constitution-In-the-Pocket Trick:

For years, [vice-presidential chief of staff David S.] Addington has carried a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket; taped onto the back are photocopies of extra statutes that detail the legal procedures for Presidential succession in times of national emergency.

New Yorker, July 3, 2006

Chris Berry, president of WMAL, the local ABC radio affiliate, has carried a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution with him…

Roll Call, June 26, 2006

[U.S. Sen Christopher J.] Dodd's understanding of, and commitment to, the values upon which our country was built and the role of the various branches of government is so profound that he regularly carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket.

Hartford Courant, May 26, 2006

Known to carry a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket, [attorney James] Brosnahan is guided by a firm belief that all are entitled to legal counsel and has taken on some of the nation's most controversial cases.

San Francisco State University, April 24, 2006

Majodina says that her son now carries a copy of the [South African] constitution in his pocket.

Business Day, 26 May 2006

[Sen. Chuck] Schumer waves around his pocket Constitution…

Blog commenter, January 10, 2006

Captain Ian Fishback, a devout Christian who, like Senator Robert Byrd, always carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket.

Vanity Fair, January, 2006

[Utah Property Rights Association president Bob Fisher] carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket.

Salt Lake Tribune, July 4, 2005

With a Bible in his hand and a copy of the Constitution in his pocket, Russell Kanning challenged airport security and was arrested at a security checkpoint at Manchester Airport while trying to board a flight.

Manchester Union Leader, June 12, 2005

For Sens. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), their pocket copy of the Constitution signed by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) on 5/25/05 is "the ultimate sign of their new status as the chamber's lead Democratic dealmakers."

National Journal, June 6, 2005

"There was not a single day of his professional life," said Seton Hall law school dean Patrick E. Hobbs, "when [Rep. Peter W. Rodino Jr.] didn't carry a copy of the Constitution in his pocket."

The Washington Post, May 8, 2005

Senator Byrd, who keeps a copy of the Constitution in his pocket…

National Constitution Center, April 29, 2005

But DeLay waved a pocket copy of the Constitution Sunday afternoon as he called the congressional intervention perfectly legitimate.

Orlando Sentinel, March 21, 2005

On World News Tonight on August 8, ABC News reported that its late anchor, Peter Jennings, always carried a copy of the U.S. Constitution in his pocket and had ordered 100 copies to hand out.

Cato Institute

After pulling a copy of the Constitution from his pocket, [Sen. Harry Reid] told reporters that the Senate's "advice and consent" role must be respected.

National Journal, February 12, 2005

[Justice Antonin Scalia] started reaching in his pocket for his copy of the constitution.

Jonathan Goodman's Political Commentary, June 22, 2004

But the primary text for all of [Sen. Sam Ervin's] political sermons was the dog-eared copy of the Constitution that he kept in his jacket pocket.

Journal of Church and State, June 22, 2003

A more equitable solution would be to instruct police chiefs in First Amendment law for everyone—and tuck a copy of the Constitution in the uniform pocket of every officer deployed to assure that the city and the First Amendment stay open.

Nat Hentoff, November 4, 2002

Remember when presidential hopeless Bob Dole bumbled along the 1996 campaign trail, patting his breast pocket, saying he stowed a copy of the 10th Amendment inside?

Joel Miller, April 12, 2002

[CBS producer Fred W. Friendly] often offered visitors a compact copy of the Constitution from his jacket pocket.

Columbia University Record, March 27, 1998

[Justice Hugo Black] would whip his tattered copy of the Constitution from his coat pocket, flip through it to a particular passage and then, in a high voice, read the passage con vivace.

Hugo L. Black: Cold Steel Warrior by Howard Ball. Oxford University Press, 1996

"In some ways they have been terribly wronged, there's no question about it," [Colorado state Sen. Charles] Duke said after one session, a copy of the Constitution poking out of his shirt like a pocket protector.

Rocky Mountain News, May 19, 1996

"What [county-supremacy movement leader] Dick Carver basically does is carry a copy of the Constitution in his pocket, and he just whips it out and waves it around when you ask what's the authority for the county-supremacy ordinances."

Time, October 23, 1995

John W. Marshall has carried it with him throughout his 15 years as a law enforcement officer: a pocket-size copy of the U.S. Constitution.

The Washington Post, February 23, 1995

Once accused of putting himself above the Constitution, [Oliver North] now carries a copy of the Constitution in his suit pocket and brags that he has "the hide of an armadillo."

The New York Times, January 28, 1994

To answer the Senators' challenge, [George Herbert Walker] Bush actually took a copy of the Constitution out of his jacket pocket and reminded the legislators that although it gives them the right to declare war, it also names him as Commander in Chief.

Time, November 26, 1990

[Assistant attorney general William Bradford Reynolds] carries a copy of the Constitution in his breast pocket.

The Washington Post, January 10, 1988

Order your pocket constitution today.