Court Watch: Accident-Prone Justices
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Now that Judge Sonia Sotomayor has broken her ankle, the "Sotomayor Stumbles" headlines and blog items seem inevitable. But like so much in the court system, Sotomayor's accident comes with a set of precedents. She's not the first justice to break a bone on the way to the Supreme Court.
Reported the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin in 2005: "In 1993, when Breyer was a federal appeals-court judge in Boston, he had what is certainly the most famous bicycle accident in Supreme Court history. A few days before an interview with President Clinton for the vacancy on the Court created by Byron White's resignation, Breyer crashed while trying to avoid a pedestrian near his home in Cambridge, breaking a rib and puncturing a lung. He was in pain during the meeting with the President, and it didn't go well. Breyer was appointed the following year, after Harry Blackmun retired."
Justice Clarence Thomas had his troubles, too, though his came during his second year on the Court (also 1993). That's when he tore his Achilles tendon while playing a game of basketball at the "highest court in the land," as the Supreme's basketball court is affectionately known.
Posted at 4:15 PM ET on Jun 8, 2009
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