The Green Bag Unveils New Bobblehead Justice Kennedy

By Tony Mauro

It's Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's turn to be depicted as a bobblehead doll.

A prototype of the newly minted doll has already been delivered to the justice's chambers, and soon it will be available free and exclusively to subscribers of Green Bag, the offbeat law review published at George Mason University School of Law.

As he did with the four previous bobble-justices, editor-in-chief Ross Davies infused the Kennedy doll with imagery specific to his jurisprudence. His shoes sport a pair of asterisks -- used by Kennedy in one-footnote opinions -- and his cufflinks display the mathematical symbols for "congruence and proportionality," a Kennedy phrase from City of Boerne v. Flores. The doll stands on a topographical map of Glacier Bay National Park, at issue in his 2005 ruling Alaska v. United States. And Kennedy is holding Volume 505 of the U.S Reports, which includes Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 case that saw Kennedy taking a key pro-abortion rights stance.

Even the packaging for the doll will have significance, says Davies. It is modeled after the cargo containers discussed in one of Kennedy's more obscure decisions, Itel Containers v. Huddleston from 1993.

Because the whole package is fragile, Green Bag is not shipping them directly, but sending subscribers coupons to redeem in person. A similar arrangement for the Antonin Scalia doll drew howls from out-of-town subscribers, leading the entrepreneurial members of GMU Law's Phi Alpha Delta fraternity to offer to wrap and ship the bobbleheads for a $25 fee. The same offer will be available for the Kennedy doll.

Davies has designed and issued the dolls according to seniority on the Court -- William Rehnquist, then John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor and Scalia. Next up: David Souter, even though by Court rules, new Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has instant seniority. "Not enough of a record yet," says Davies of Roberts, explaining that Roberts' few rulings so far would not give him enough symbolic fodder.

Only 1,710 of the Kennedy dolls have been made and they are much coveted by Court buffs. A Scalia bobblehead sold for $502 on eBay May 26.

copyright 2006 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is reprinted with permission from Legal Times, a publication of American Lawyer Media. (1-800-933-4317,