tv Supreme Court Food Traditions CSPAN August 15, 2016 11:07am-12:18pm EDT
bader ginsburg and sonia sotomayor talking about the court's food traditions, and later, stephen breyer talks about the influence of foreign relations on national security and civil liberties. coming up next, justices ruth bader ginsberg and sonia sotomayor share stories of the current supreme court's food traditions, including topics of conversation at shared meals. we also learn about customs dating to the 19th and 20th centuries from curator catherine fitts. this discussion took place at the smithsonian's national museum of american history here in washington and it's just over an hour. so it's absolutely a thrill to see so many people here for this kind of a program. my name is john gray and i have the wonderful privilege of being the director of your national museum of american history.
particularly on nights like tonight when we can really look at american history in unique and unusual ways. we are honored to be joined by tonight's panel, supreme court justice ruth bader ginsburg. [ applause ] supreme court justice sonia sotomayor. [ applause ] catherine fitts. [ applause ] and supreme court society publications director clare cushman. [ applause ] it is now my privilege to introduce the 13th secretary of the smithsonian institution, dr. david skorton, a board certified cardiologist, a jazz musician
and he was recently the president of cornell university and previously served as president of the university of iowa. he has interested in learning, as wide as the smithsonian, and most importantly tonight, he's a pescuitarian. [ applause ] >> thanks, john, for the introduction and thank you from the american people for the great job you do, so innovative and creative at this amazing museum. especially in such an interesting election year we all appreciate everything you and your colleagues are doing to share so many aspects of the story of america and to aspire us all with that story. esteemed colleagues and friends, welcome to this unique opportunity, a word i don't use
lightly, to find out more about the highest court in the land and how its members have worked and dined together. the supreme court and the smithsonian have long had close ties. since the 19th century, the chief justice has served as the chancellor of the smithsonian board of regents. i am indebted to chief roberts for his work in this capacity and for the guidance he's provided me in my transition my first year at the smithsonian and the education about the smithsonian and for his ongoing leadership. justice sotomayor and justice ginsburg, i thank you and your colleagues on the court for your crucial work that underpins our democracy. thank you. [ applause ] i know i speak for everyone by saying you are pioneers and role models and exemplars of the new aunlsed and principled
thinking that undergirds the american rule of law. and i'm glad to say, friend of the smithsonian. justice ginsburg and sotomayor have each shared their fascinating stories with us as part of our smithsonian associated program, and they're both represented in the national portrait gallery in nelson shank's painting "four justices" which features justice kagan and former justice o'connor. i invite all of you if you haven't to see it. it is on display through october. the national postal museum have stamps that feature justice william brandon, lewiss brandeis, and this museum has in its collection the robe sandra day o'connor wore when she was sworn in as the first woman justice on the supreme court. the seismic shifts in our nation's history has typically been characterized in part by struggle. the politics have frequently been hotly contested.
but as this year's contentious presidential election unfolds, it's good to remember that politics can end at the edge of a plate. this is because food brings us all together. it is communal, it is ritual. food has always bound civilization as is evident in a centuries-old phrase and tradition of breaking bread. one of my favorite variations of this term is it's hard to remain enemies when you've broken bread together. nothing exemplifies that sentiment more than the close relationship shared by justice ginsburg and the late justice antonin scalia. the picture of the two of them on top of an elephant on a trip to india for me was worth many thousands of words. these brilliant colleagues put any differences aside, whether traveling the world or simply breaking bread together here. convening people to explore our
shared humanity and a measure of shared wisdom is what the smithsonian is all about. from discussions of current topics to educational program to events like this one that examine our common bonds. the smithsonian is at heart a place with people can come together. thank you for gathering so we can hear some fascinating stories and partake of some food for thought. john? [ applause ] >> thank you very much, secretary skorton. and thank you to our partners at the supreme court historical society for their support of this program. we also welcome the staff of the supreme court and the offices of justices ginsburg and sotomayor, and many other distinguished guests. tonight we're honored to be joined by two members of the nation's highest court and they've come together to talk about food.
in fact this is one of those rare and special times when the justices will speak publicly on topics outside the law. we are the home of julia child kitchen and so many other national treasures related to food and its consumption and its production. and we do so for a reason. we make the intimate link between food and our history and in doing so we help our nation understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. food history, food stories and our own love of food awaken vivid memories that create an awareness and an empathy for all. with that just a few ground rules. fist, please limit your photography to the first two minutes of the discussion after i leave the stage. please remember to turn off your cell phones. it is now our honor to introduce tonight's panel on the
fascinating delicious topic of the importance of food at the supreme court. please join me in welcoming our distinguished panel, justice ruth bader ginsburg, joined the supreme court in 1993, previously as part of an extensive and distinguished legal career, she was appointed to the u.s. court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit. justice ginsberg attended harvard law school and received her llb from columbia law school and served on the law review at both schools. justice sonia sotomayor joined the supreme court in 2009. previously as part of an extensive and distinguished legal career, she served on the u.s. court of appeals for the second district, on the u.s. district court southern district of new york. she earned a jd from yale law school where she served as editor of the yale law journal. catherine fitts is the curator
of the u.s. court and today's moderator clare cushman is at the historical society and author of a number of books on the history of the court. thank you all for joining us at our table, and we look forward to this discussion. thank you. [ applause ] >> thank you for that introduction. on behalf of the supreme court historical society, i would like to thank the smithsonian for partnering with us for this event, for hosting us in this beautiful room and especially to its staff for organizing it. on a cold february night in 1790 the justices met and held their first session of the supreme court in new york city. after they adjourned, they went
to france's tavern and ate dinner. they dined with new york district judges, the attorney general, and had a really good time. they made 13 toasts, including one to the president, one to the constitution and one to the new national judiciary. so since its very inception, the supreme court justices have found way to come together and share meals. as they're appointed for life, they often sit on the bench together for years, if not decades. and they look for ways to enhance cordiality and cooperation by, as you said, breaking bread together. tonight we're going to examine the evolution of some of the court's customs involving food. from the early 19th century.
and then hear about what some of these distinguished justices have to say about current practices. so let's start with the marshal court era, when the great chief justice from virginia presided over the court from 1801 to 1835. he sat on the court, there were six and then seven justices, and they were appointed from all up and down the eastern seaboard from boston all the way down to georgia and then eventually out west to kentucky. they came to washington, to the supreme court sessions, alone. they left their wives and their children in their home towns. they didn't move their families to washington. because the court term was very short. during the marshal court era, it was usually about two months long. accordingly chief justice john
marshall arranged for them all to live together in a boarding house, and they took almost all their meals together. so catherine, why did john marshall want the justices to live, dine, work, and socialize together? >> well, i would say that i think the primary reason was that he wanted to build the bonds between the justices. i think it also goes to say that the court started off with a nomadic existence. they were in new york when that was the seat of the nation's government. then they moved to philadelphia, and then they came to washington. and i think also at the time we have to remember that in washington it wasn't the city of course that we know today. and so there were very few places for the justices and members of congress who would come on this transient schedule to washington. so they lived in the boarding houses to kind of gain that fraternal bond and to also come together.
and i think john marshall also wanted the justices to kind of learn to come together and speak in one voice, to try to give the court some stature. >> so when they were eating in the boarding houses, were they in a private room or were they with other guests? >> i think at times they probably shared some meals with other guests. but when they went to deliberate their cases, they met in private for those discussions. >> they actually ate dinner and deliberated cases at the same time? >> according to stories, that is the case. >> so was there no conference room available to them at the court? or what was the situation like in the capitol? >> i probably should have prefaced my earlier remarks with that. when the court moved to washington, there was the president's house, there was the capitol. and even though we had a third branch of government, there was no place for the supreme court to meet.
graciously room was made available in the basement of the capitol but it was just a small committee room. i think it was 30 x 35. eventually in 1810 the supreme court got their first chamber on the ground floor of the capitol building. that's the era that john marshall comes to washington and leads the court. >> john marshall had a great fondness for madeira wine, which you probably all know is a fortified wine imported by madeira. he was not alone. madeira was very popular with most of the founding fathers, including thomas jefferson, his rival. apparently the shaking and the sauna like conditions in the ship's hull gave it a very complex caramel flavor that they liked. tell us about john marshall and madeira.
>> i think john marshall also gained his taste for madeira in richmond. in fact, he was part of -- and i'll hopefully pronounce this correctly, but a quoits club in richmond, which was essentially a barbecue club for gentlemen. and john marshall was one of the founding members. and the club had their own punch, and madeira was one of the primary iningredients along with cognac, rum, a little lemons and sugar thrown in there just for fun, i think. madeira was definitely one of the primary ingredients. and quoits was a lawn game at the time, kind of akin to horseshoes and they would throw these iron rings at megs. and one of the reasons they got together was for this bond. and supposedly john marshall was vigorous in enforcing his rules that politics and religion was not to be discussed and if anyone was caught discussing those, they were fined a case of champagne, which would then be
consumed at the next meeting. >> and apparently he had bottles labeled "the supreme court" that he brought with him to the boarding house to share? >> i think there were also local merchants that kind of played on john marshall's and other's fondness for madeira. yes, there was a supreme court label madeira. >> which sort of gave it the seal of approval. if john marshall buys it, it must be good. >> right. >> john marshall had a great ally on the court, a man named joseph story, who was appointed from massachusetts. apparently, story had a weak stomach, and he was a teetotaler when he arrived in washington. that didn't last long. and he wrote to his wife that the justices tried really hard not to drink too much wine. they had a rule that only on rainy days and for medicinal purposes would they imbibe.
but apparently this was not a bright line rule. >> this is true. >> there's a story about the rainy day which is told in various versions. they drank only when it rained. and the chief justice said, he looked out the window and the sun is shining brightly, and he said, somewhere in the world it's raining. >> mm-hmm. >> justice ginsburg, you have an anecdote about joseph story's wife sarah, as well. >> sarah and joseph story were very close, and she didn't like him to be away at the capital city for weeks at a time. so she decided she would come along with him. and that made chief justice marshall rather uneasy.
he said, it would be all right if she dined with them. she would add a civilizing influence. but she mustn't be around when they are discussing cases. she didn't want to distract justice story from the work he was to do. as it turned out, sarah's stomach was no better than joseph's. and the boarding house fare did not agree with her. so she left before the term ended. but it was the beginning of the end for the boarding house. one justice or another decided why should i have this boarding house fare when i can be living with my family? and i think johnson left and then another and another. and what happened, when the boarding house style of living ended, dissents began to appear
in the court. john marshall did a remarkable thing. the tradition was -- the tradition we inherited from england was that each justice wrote his own opinion. so say there was a panel of five judges, there would be five opinions, and then the lawyers had to figure out what the decision meant. marshall's idea was that this should be only one opinion, it would speak for the court. there should be no dissents, and he would write the opinion. it's remarkable. in the early marshall's court, almost all the decisions were written by the chief justice. but when the boarding house style of living broke down, so did the unanimity. >> so there's evidence that the marshall court justices liked to
share regional food products with each other. they were very proud of the foods from their home towns. for example, john marshall sent virginia hams up to joseph story in boston and story reciprocated by sending down salted cod, along with a recipe for how to cook salted cod, because it's not easy. you have to soak it. and he wasn't sure the virginians knew what to do with it. my question is for both justices, starting with justice ginsburg, are there modern examples of justices today on the court bringing food from their home towns or back from their travels? >> or their hunting trips. we had an intrepid hunter on the court who would bring everything b back from fish to fowl to bambi, to wild boor. he was very generous in sharing.
>> justice breyer not so long ago decided he needed to introduce his grandchildren to pheasant caught by our colleague, and presented the pheasant, cooked it and presented it at home to his grandchildren. but explained that they had to be careful because there might be pellets in the game. and they refused to eat it so he ate it alone. >> another favorite was it's called beef jerky. it was made by sandra day o'connor's brother on the ranch, the family ranch. and a couple of times a year she would bring a large supply of beef jerky and distribute it. >> did you try it? it's apparently quite spicy. >> it is very spicy. >> i would have loved it. i came too late.
>> and i understand that justice breyer and justice kennedy have brought wine for the court to share? is that -- >> only on very special occasions. but it was the traditional dinner before the state of the union message. and one year justice kennedy came with a couple of bottles of opus one from california. >> he's also brought duck from california. >> that was the first time i feel asleep during the state of the union. [ laughter ] >> well, justice sotomayor, i understand that when you first joined the court you brought a treat with you from new york for the other justices. >> well, i shouldn't be telling tales, but the colleague on this
panel with me, i was told enjoys sweets, so i brought a box of new york pastries with me for our first conference together. i've only learned later that the treat she was most fond of is muffins. >> now we have our own pastry chef at the court. >> many justices have had food related traditions with their clerks. harry blackman famously liked to have breakfast with his clerk every morning in the supreme court cafeteria. and chief justice warren berger who was a great lover of good food and wine and a good chef would make bean soup for his clerks on saturdays. i've been trying to get a recipe, an exact recipe for that bean soup but it seems to be a little of this and a little of whatever was around. but quite delicious. i'm going to ask both justices, do you have particular food
traditions with your clerks? >> lots of them. >> okay. >> i love food. and so i do. routinely on weekends when the bagel shop near the court was open -- it's now closed and i'm heartbroken -- i would bring bagels in on the weekend, and buy all sorts of cream cheeses, and we would spend a lunch hour eating fresh bagels. i eat with my law clerks at home fairly regularly. they come over to my place every couple of months and their charge is to find a new delivery place that can deliver something, some food that's new for us. it's also in my clerk's manual that one of their responsibilities during the year is to identify a restaurant i haven't eaten at.
and it has expanded my knowledge of d.c. restaurants, that rule. so yes, i guess my final food related tradition with my clerks is when i travel, particularly abroad but anywhere in the united states that might be different than a local spot, i bring back chocolates from that place, or their traditional sweets. and if you come to my office, almost always there is candy, which is a very unusual thing for a diabetic, isn't it? i once had a child ask me how could a diabetic have candy in her office? and my response was, people like it, and they come to talk to me more when they know there's candy in my office. >> that's true. >> i can say sometimes i make a detour just so i can stop by. especially around halloween when
the supply is enormous in your chamber. >> i have a really big halloween bowl. >> justice ginsburg, as you mentioned, getting back to the 19th century, by the 1940s, the justices were bringing their families with them and living in washington. they became part of the washington establishment, part of washington society. you were instrumental in helping the supreme court historical society get published the memoir of the wife of john marshall harlin, who served on the supreme court from 1877 to 1911. so could you explain a little bit about the elaborate social functions that supreme court wives had to undertake in that time period? >> let me say a word about her memories.
i was trying to get information for a talk for the supreme court historical society on the lives of supreme court wives. and there was precious little because most correspondence, the man's was saved and the woman's wasn't. the library of congress found buried among the justice's papers, this manuscript called "memories of a long life" and it's the story of melvina harlin, a girl who grew up in indianapolis. in an abolitionist family. she married john marshall harlan from kentucky, a slave state. it's a remarkable book. and thanks to the supreme court historical society, it was the first publisher, is now out in random house modern library
book. but one of the things she describes is at home mondays. the justices' wives were expected to have a tea for anyone who wanted to come. there could be 200, even 300 people on an at-home monday. they would serve scones and cakes and sandwiches. sometimes they would hire musicians so the young people could dance. all of this was not paid for by the federal government. it was the private responsibility of the justices. and then sometime in the course of the afternoon the justice would come out for 15, 20-minute appearance. this went on for a long time. >> yeah, until the great depression when it finally put an end to all of those sort of social traditions.
very expensive for the families to bear the cost of. >> but they continued to have into my appointment at the court, a ladies' dining room where the spouses met. it got to be a little embarrassing when two of the spouses were men. so the story of how we changed that -- the supreme court is a very tradition-bound place. sandra o'connor and i thought, how should we suggest to the chief that the ladies' dining room should be renamed? and she came up with a brilliant idea. he's tell him we want to call it the natalie cornell rehnquist dining room. his wife had died some years before, he was devoted to her. so we now have the natalie
cornell rehnquist dining room in lieu of the ladies' dining room. >> let's shift gears a little bit about talk about the lunch break. catherine, i understand that in the 19th century, oral arguments went on for a very long time, and so the court sessions lasted from 11:00 to 5:00, and then they were shortened from 12:00 to 4:30. what did the justices do about lunch? >> so believe it or not, while oral arguments were going on, one or two justices at a time would slip behind the bench, and their messengers would set up tables and the justices would eat lunch behind the bench while oral arguments were actually going on. >> so if you were sitting in the courtroom listening to oral argument, you couldn't see the justices eating because they were behind the bench or a screen.
but could you hear them? >> you could. kind of much like we're raised. in the courtroom the bench is raised as well, then there was a partition and an opening behind the three center chairs. but there was a partition. so the justices would be seated at these tables but you could certainly hear the clatter of knives and forks and dishes. the messengers sometimes would bring meals from the senate restaurant. and if you're wondering why i have this prop here, there's also a story that's repeated that one of the justices decided that they wanted to have a split of champagne with their lunch. and as the messenger was trying to open the bottle, supposedly the cork flew out over the bench. >> and weren't some of the oral advocates concerned that there wasn't a corm on the bench when
a couple of them slipped away? >> there was. there was one instance where two members did not attend an oral argument because they were ill. and then again we would have one or two justices slipping behind the bench to have lunch. and so as the story goes, an attorney asked the justice, asked the chief justice and kind of paused and asked the chief justice, well, are we sure there's a quorum. at that time there needed to be a quorum of six justice. and chief justice fuller at the time assured the attorney that even though you can't see them, you could probably hear a few of my colleagues eating behind the bench, and asked the attorney to proceed. >> brave lawyer. >> and so when did the lunch break first get inaugurated? >> i think a few weeks after that incident. around 1988, the court initiated a lunch break, half-hour only between 2:00 and 2:30. >> but i've been working on researching a supreme court cookbook. and i found so many anecdotes
about justices bringing their lunch boxes with them to the court and brown bagging it. why would they do that if they had the senate cafeteria? >> i think as we will hear a little later on, we had certain justices that liked certain things for lunch. i think that's one of the reasons that the justices brought. and i think also because of the timing and within that half-hour, it wasn't like the justices could go have lunch at a restaurant. and then there were times when the senate restaurant was also closed. because when the court was meeting sometimes, you know, the senate wasn't in session. but i also learned that the senate had these little lunchonette counters. that were not too far, and since the court kind of inherited space from the senate over time, i think they were kind of close to the senate restaurant and these counters. so sometimes food would be brought to them. >> so in 1935 if the supreme court got its own building.
what were the facilities like? >> chief justice taft was in charge of the supreme court building commission. so one of the many requirements for new supreme court building when they were finally able to get a home of their own was that there not only be a cafeteria for the public and for the attorneys because again in that short window, the attorneys were also trying to go out and find something for lunch, there would be a cafeteria and the justices would also have their own separate dining room. and it had to accommodate 18 people and had to be in close proximity to the justices' conference room. >> so the half an hour lunch break lasted until 1970 when chief justice berger expanded it to an hour. i'm going to ask both of the justices -- actually, i'll start with justice ginsburg. you now have a full hour.
you have a beautiful justices' dining room. what goes on during the lunch break? and do the justices all generally try to attend on days when the court is in session? >> i will defer to my colleague for that one because she is a regular at the lunch table. i will show up whenever the court is conferring, we confer in the morning at 9:30, and then by the lunch break i will go with my colleagues to lunch. and occasionally other times when justice o'connor came to town or nowadays when john paul stephens is with us and for birthdays. now that's a nice tradition. whenever a justice has a birthday, the chief brings in some wine and we toast the birthday boy or girl and sing
happy birthday. and we're missing our chorus leader because truth be told most of them can't carry a tune. [ laughter ] >> i'm one of them who can't. i go regularly. and it's a wonderful experience. we have lunch plans after every court argument day or morning. and after every conference day. and ruth comes to the lunch regularly on conference days. there generally is at least five people attending, five of the nine justices. occasionally more. all of us have fairly active schedules so it's hard to make it even for myself every lunch. but justices will come somewhat regularly on their own pattern of regularity.
almost everybody will come when some of our retired justices return for a visit, whether it's justice stephens or justice o'connor. we do have the birthday celebration. you asked what do we talk about. we have a rule similar to chief justice john marshall's rule, which is we don't talk about well, no, different than his because they used to talk about cases. we don't talk about cases. that's our absolute rule. there is no topic that's off limits, but we try to avoid controversy. and so we're very guarded about raising topics that we think might create hostility in the room. that doesn't mean we don't talk about politics, but it's not in
the great depth that we might do in the privacy of our home. okay? the most common conversation is about a fascinating book that one of the justices is reading. all of the justices are voracious readers. and someone is always reading something that they think the rest of us would like. we sometimes have conversations about interesting exhibits in the wonderful museums of d.c. that's how i learn they're here. i don't have to look them up. i wait for a colleague to tell me that they've gone and i figure out which ones i want to go to. okay? we will tell funny stories on each other. someone will tell about an experience on vacation or an experience with a grandchild or a child. there is just the normal type of conversation that people have who want to get to know each other as individuals rather than as justices.
>> you left out one major topic to which i don't contribute, but you do, certainly. and that's sports. >> ah, yes. i'm sorry, ruth. you're right. but actually i only contribute really on baseball. the real sports person is elena kagan, our colleague. >> and it used to be -- we should start this up again. every once in a while we would invite a guest to liven the lunch table conversation. thinking back on past years we've had supreme court justices, one from south africa, one from india, we've had secretaries of state, condoleezza rice was a lunch
guest, the head of the zoo, which is the smithsonian institute. and michael khan, who heads the shakespeare theater. we had the presidents of the european court of justice and the european court of human rights. you had only two so far who have been repeat lunch guests. and those were alan greenspan and jim wilkinson, who not so long ago headed the world bank. and the reason is that those two have an uncanny ability to eat lunch and speak at the same time. [ laughter ] >> but ruth, that's stopped since i got there. >> it has.
we should start it up again. >> i don't know. i wasn't a part of that tradition. but i do know that the justices have fascinating guests who come join them. and every once in a while we will get a smaller group of justices together in someone's chambers to meet that guest. i know ruth i invited you when i had -- >> martina -- >> exactly. when she was receiving the kennedy center honor. and steve has invited me. but i think there are lunches, smaller lunches of that type that do go on. >> speaking of lunch, i've been researching the lunch habits of various justices and i find that they fall into two paradigms, the healthy eaters like louis brandeis who brought two pieces of whole wheat bread with fresh spinach in between.
and on the other extreme, you have justice harlen, who was what they called in his day a gor maund. he loved french cheese, he loved wine, and his wife would send him giant platters of french cheeses for his lunch. so justice ginsburg, i'm going to ask you first, where do you fall in that spectrum, and how do you sustain yourself during the day? >> for 56 years i was married to chef supreme. my husband was a great cook. we didn't mention the spouses' lunches. >> we'll get there. >> we'll get there later? okay. he was a big contributor to food at the court. he would make cakes for everybody's birthday, all of the justices' birthdays, or my law clerks' birthdays.
and in the days when we didn't have outside food before the state of the union, he cooperated with sometimes stat cooperated with sometimes maureen scalia, sometimes mary kennedy in making a prestate of the union dinner for the court. >> for those of you who don't know, justice ginsburg was lucky enough to be married to martin ginsburg, a brilliant professor of tax law and also a remarkably talented chef. i'd like to maybe just get back to the question about what you eat for lunch, justice sotomayor. [ laughter ] we don't want to let you off the hook. i know you've been very opening about managing diabetes since your childhood. how does that play into how you sustain yourself during the day.
>> i'm assuming that because of the culinary skills that ruth tends to eat relatively lightly at lunch and i don't think that you vary it greatly. am i wrong, ruth? you don't very your lunches. >> no. >> they're pretty simple. >> but my dippers -- dinners, my husband died in 2010 and my daughter has taken on the responsibility of making sure her mother is properly nourished. [ laughter ] it's only right because she phased me out of the kitchen at an early age when she learned the difference between mommy's cooking and daddy's cooking. [ laughter ] so she comes once a month, fills the freezer with food, when there's an overflow i bring it to the court and put it in the
court freezer and we do something nice together in the evening. >> i very my launch and i shop for myself every week. the day varies on the availability of time and i bring my food in and have it put together so that i can experience something different everyday. every once in a while i will order in. my favorite order in are two, one, a local japanese sushi place and another a locaw localn place. but most of the time i do eat very healthily, i have a lot of salads and i love salads because you can vary them with the ingredients so no two salads i have that are ever identical. i have occasional sandwiches is
but i also like making sandwiches in interesting ways with healthy ingredients. so i'll put turkey or tuna fish or boiled eggs but then i'll put roasted peppers on it, pickles, sometimes, whatever suit misfancy to misfas my fancy to increase the taste. i eat a lot of fruit salads because i can vary those with the types of fruits that i eat. so for me eating is sacred. you should not waste a meal. [ laughter ] and so it can be simple and healthy but it has to be tasty. >> with respect to food, we span a wide range because in contrast to sonia who has a very well prepared diet, it was my dear
colleague david souter who ate one thing only for lunch. plain yogurt. [ laughter ] no fruit, just plain yogurt. >> i understand occasionally he had an apple. [ laughter ] >> later in the day. [ laughter ] >> and he ate the core. [ laughter ] by the way, justices do have different eating habits, a number of my colleagues order from our cafeteria. i dare say that the chief orders from the cafeteria and he has a salad generally brought up. justices kagan, breyer and thomas will vary their lunches. justice kennedy and sam alito bring food from home and
sometimes i see sam's fare and i think maybe i should eat dinner with him more often. [ laughter ] as with justice kennedy, because both their spouses are wonderful cooks. some justices like justice stevens ate a cheese sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off virtually everyd day that i sat with him for a year. and i understand -- and ruth can tell me this because i didn't have the privilege of knowing his wife well -- she was a wonderful cook. >> she was a dietitian so she was a very healthy food provider but there was a time when he was on a diet and he had grapefruits cut in half, he ate both halves. >> that was before my time.
>> i'd like to get back to martin ginsburg just a little bit. justice ginsburg, you were talking about the wife's teas in the late 19th century and the role supreme court wives were expected to play but your husband played an extremely important role internally at the court by being such a joyful participant in the spouse luncheons. spouse luncheons are held -- is it four times a year? and they're -- r thare they pot? no, two or three of the spouses take the initiative to organize them. so my question to you, justice ginsburg, is do you remember your husband going off to his first spouse luncheon and what his impression was of it and what he made for that luncheon. >> he made veal tonoto, which is
very popular. it's in this book. this book "chef supreme" was conceived by martha ann alito. and she thought the perfect tribute would be a cook book so this has some 30 odd of his well over 150 recipes that he had on a disk. the choices were initially made by martha ann but then my daughter looked at the table of contents and she said "mother, those are not the recipes daddy would have picked." [ laughter ] so i said all right, jane, you pick the recipes. and in the table of contents there's one recipe, it says "jane's s "jane's cesar salad." she contributed one of her own. >> ruth, she's as good as her father, i understand.
i had one meal at her home in new york and the food was fantastic. >> she's very good. >> the tributes to martin ginsburg in the cook book by the spouses are wonderful and i'd like to just briefly read a snippet from kathy douglas stone who was the widow of william o. douglas. this is what she wrote about martin ginsburg. "he arrived dressed elegantly in a sports jacket with a handkerchief in his breast pocket." the spouse luncheon. "his smile gave the impression of perpetual amusement as though he had just heard some witty remark. he was soft spoken. aware that one aspect of a spouse's job is to bind in an institution of differences, he seemed eager to do his part. we departed our lunches with marty feeling fulfilled and always closer to one another.
i think john marshall would have really enjoyed martin ginsburg. my question to you, justice ginsburg, is did he just love to share good food or do you think he was aware of this sort of important service he was doing for the court and binding it together? >>. >> i'd say both. marty began his fondness for the kitchen i think shortly after i made my first meal. [ laughter ] and he said he owed his skill to two women, first was his mother and the second was his wife. i don't think he was being fair to his mother but he was entirely accurate when it came to me. it was -- marty began cooking when he was in service in
oklahoma and i came back to give birth to jane. my cousin sent him a cook book, an english translation, and said "this will give you something to do while your wife is away." and so marty started on page one with the basic stocks, he had been a skchemistry major at cornell until foul practice intruded on the chemistry labs so he treated this book like a chemistry book. after after two years he was already quite a good look. >> he was a fabulous baker. >> yes. >> and made wonderful bread. >> he said there wasn't a decent loaf of bread in the entire city of washington, d.c. so he made his own bread.
>> justice sotomayor, let's talk about your foot traditions. in your autobiography "my beloved world" you write that your mother cooked rice and beans and chuletas. did you learn to cook puerto rican foot growing up? >> you know, i'm not a bad cook but i'm a horrible cook of puerto rican food. and i know why, because i've tasted the best from my mother, my grandmother, my uncles, my father, i can't duplicate anything they make so i've really -- have lost heart and don't try. i am now trying to figure out how to make my mother's chuletas so every time i visit her in florida she still makes them for me, i dutifully watch and they're never the same. [ laughter ] for years i thought it had to do with the pan she was using or pans because they had to have
been seasoned in a particular way. so i've taken three of her pans -- [ laughter ] -- over time, every once in a while when we're in the kitchen cooking with a new pan she'll look at me and say "i wonder what happened to the last pan." [ laughter ] >> we're leaving this now for a kato institute discussion on the newly released 2016 "freedom in the 50 states" report. the report examines state policies such as crime reduction, fiscal policy and taxes. >> today marks the publication date of "freedom in the 50 states" an index of personal and economic freedom. this is, in fact, the fourth edition and, like all new editions, has new and improved features which we'll get into momentarily. there seems to be a lot of indices out there but few have provided a comprehensive yield. fiscal policy, regulatory agencies, how state agencies
affect economic activities within its borders and personal freedom. this makes it a single contribution to those interested in the state of liberty at the state level. the temptation to steal thunder here is very powerful so let me kill that instinct off right now and introduce the creators of this remarkable new volume. william p. ruger is a research fellow in foreign policies in cato institute. he spends most of his days as vice president of policy and research at the charles koch institute. he's the author of the biography "milton freedman" and a co-author of the state of texas. he has been published in state politics and policy quarterly, armed forces and society and other outlets. ruger, a veteran of the war in afghanistan, earned an a. b. from the college of william of mary and a .a ph.d. from brande university. jason sorens is with dartmouth
college. his specialists are secessionism and ethnic politics. he is the author of "says sigsism, interest and policy" he's been in the journal of peace research, state politics and policy quarterly and other academic journals. he received his b.a. in economics and philosophy with honors from washington and lee university and his ph.d. in political science from yale university. so we'll hear from both gentlemen and then we will leave time for questions at the end but without further ado let's welcome will ruger. >> well, thank you, peter and thank you the cato institute for publishing the fourth edition of "freedom in the 50 states." we're excited to be with cato and it's a great launching point for discussion about what it means to be free and whether the state of public policy is in the
states. i'd also like to thank you for coming out for this launch. what is the freedom inzmex it's the most comprehensive study of freedom in the 50 states and the first to examine both economic freedom and freedoms that affect your personal lives. it looks at three key areas in doing so -- fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and person freedom or freedom from paternalism and like peter said this is the fourth edition. we like to call it the bigger and badder edition. it's up to 287 pages and includes all kinds of neat information, statistics and most importantly for the social science in all of us analysis. so what's the purpose of the freedom index? why do we do this? we want to measure and compare the american states on how their public policies affect individual freedoms in the economic, social and personal spheres. now, of course, freedom is an end in itself. it's valuable for its own sake.
that's one reason why we want to look at this and examine what is the status of this important moral principle in the states. but it has a lot of dynamic effects. this will help us investigate questions about the relationship between freedom and outcomes such as economic growth and freedom and things like internal my graigs. so it has a lot of different uses but from the analytical side and the public policy side. so we think it's useful for legislator, for example, legislator cans use this to know how their states are doing and where they stand relative to the other states in the union but they can also use it to identify areas of improvement to say, look, there are 40 other states doing it this way and seeming to have success with that policy, why can't we? now, citizens can use this to whole legislators accountable. that's an important thing and that means they have to be informed about the status of freedom in their state and this
will help them do that. reporters can use this to gather data on how their state compares to, say, other states in the union. citizens can use this if they think about moving or businesses when they think about making decisions about where they ought to go relative to that regulatory environment that so affect what is they do. so there are lots of different ways that people can use this. now, why study states? some of what i've already talked about relates to that? but i want to make a kind of broader point which is that we should study states because the american federal system still allows state governments fairly wide discretion over a range of importance policy issues. so federalism is still alive, despite it being in decline basically since the beginning of our country's history but especially since the new deal. so what i would say is that we should study states because federalism allows states to innovate and a lot of the action is happening in politics at the state level. and there are a lot of prominent
examples of this. so while we have a lot of gridlock in washington, a lot of polarization, lots of things are getting done at the state level. so think about criminal justice and policing reform, an important issue that's transpartisan today. you have states like new mexico, nebraska and new hampshire that have passed civil asset forfe forfeiture reform. or think about issues on the fiscal side where many, many states have tried to get a handle on the most recent great recession and how to innovate to deal with the fiscal problems that have resulted or marijuana policies where you've seen colorado, washington, and alaska changing their marijuana regimes. or education policy where nevada has experimented with esas, not to mention regulatory reforms like the right to work laws passed in wisconsin, indiana and michigan. so you've seen a lot of policy innovation at the state so it's important to see what's going on out there. we provide the data to do that kind of analysis.
another reason why we should study states is because state governments have to compete with each other both for citizens and the tax base. why? in part because migration is as american as apple pie and chevrolet. we're a country of people who have moved and we continue to do so with pretty robust internal migration. i should also mention one thing in relationship to why we study states is to mention justice louis brandeis. he talked about how states are laboratories of democracy and so one great thing about states is that they can experiment with different policy regimes and see how it works without having a one size fits all approach that if it goes badly it's bad for everyone whereas with the states you could have a state experiment, see how it goes, other states can either copy it or choose not to if the policy goes bad. so let me talk about how we define and consul which you
willize freedom. like i said, freedom is a moral concept and we define in the a tra( diggsal american way that's consistent with the long liberal tradition in the west. that is that individual should be allowed to dispose of their lives, liberty, and property as they see fit consistent with the equal rights of others to do so. this is generally the law of equal freedom. now freedom includes being unconstrained from unjust private and public interference, that's important. but we only measure the latter. we're focused on state policies not looking at the public safety regimes and the different states that might protect you from personal violence. we're looking just at how states engage in the use of its powers. another key caveat here is that we exclude abortion and the death penalty from our analysis. from the main analysis. and the reason we do that is because there are reasonable quote/unquote freedom arguments
on the different sides of the issues. now jason and i have our own strong opinions about these two things but there are different freedom arguments so for example with abortion people have different views on what role the state should play justly in a liberal regime depending on when they think life should begin and a liberty approach or libertarianism, classical liberals or sorens and ruger, we don't necessarily want to impose a particular view on that because this is more of a scientific, theological, moral question so we leave that aside. but we do provide data on these as well as alternative indices based on different regimes for those types of policies so if you look in the appendix, you'll see that. so we have three different abortion policy regimes and how that might affect the index. but the main rankings and main index do not include either of those policies. now i want to know something as an aside on freedom or morality. so there's a critical caveat about the law of equal freedom
at the start of this study and that is that our approach does not imply normative neutrality. so just because we believe that these types of policies should not impinge upon people's freedom to do all kinds of different things that doesn't mean we think the exercise of those rights, the ability to do something, means that one ought to do those things, that it's either wise of virtuous or healthy to exercise those freedoms. however consistent with our important, i think, moral consent that is at the heart of this study we believe people ought to be able to do those things. so what we call virtue libertarianism at a piece that with wrote at reason.com is an option to political conservatism and ethical libertinism. now let's get to the data. so we measure freedom given this is the fourth edition and we've done back coding, we measure
freedom for the year end 2000, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. so a real nice series of data so look at states in terms of their respect for freedom over the last 14 years in terms of the study itself. we have over 230 variables so it's quite comprehensive and that's important to measure the whole range of different freedoms but also if you have a concern about us weighting one thing more than the other you have to realize there's so many different variables the overall rankings are quite robust even for small policy changes. so we measure everything from state and local tax burdens to occupational licensing to even things like raw milk sales. now, the different dimensions that i talk about, fiscal, regulatory, and personal freedom, these are all roughly a third of the index. so let me talk a little bit about how we've weighted these policies. and it's important to note that
we do not have a subjective ranking here. this is not simply ruger and soren's view about what matters to people and what ought to matter to them. what we've tried to do is have as an active system of weighting as possible so individual policies are weighted by the actual value of the freedom concerned to those who enjoy it. we do that in dollar terms. it's important to note this is not a utilitarian weighting scheme, we're not looking at both the costs and benefits of any particular policy in terms of how it affects the utility to that person so we're not -- we don't measure the advantage of the coercive regime. that's very consistent with, i think, the liberal tradition that we are basing this on. and we do that zosh what we do is we basically take for each variable we give it a dollar estimate representing the financial, clpsychological and welfare benefits of a
standardize shift of the variable in a pro-freedom direction to those who enjoy more freedom. and we do this based on existing economic and policy research. now, some policies do get a bump due to wider unmeasured costs to insecure rights if these policies -- in cases of where these policies touch on those things. so, for example, if a policy is incoded in a state constitution or on the u.s. constitution or they have been recognized by at least some state courts or relate to a fundamental right, we've given it a bump in terms of the weighting, eminent domain reform or regulatory takings. so what's new for the -- what's new for this edition? well, first of all we have the updated rankings and data for 2012 and 2014 and that's important when we're trying to do that kind of looking at these policies over time. we also have improved our estimates of the freedom value of each policy that go into the
weightings i just talkedn't we also have expanded and improved measures for covered policies. we're trying to measure underlying categories and dimensions. we give particular account to citizen choice among local governmentings. we have included cronyism and corruption and lobbying. jason will talk more about that when he comes up here. we have new analysis of the relationships between things like freedom and partisan lean, policy ideology, culture, institutions, economic growth and migration so there is a lot in that 287 pages. we've updated the profiles and included policy recommendations for all 50 states and we've provided by those alternative indexes i've talked about. so now let's get to the rankings, the sexy stuff people like to hear.
so let's turn fiscal policy here. you sina in fiscal policy we're dealing with things like state taxation, local taxation, government employment, government subsidies and debt and you see here new york brings up the rear in 50th place. not surprising. something worth noting. at the stop were states like new hampshire, tennessee, south dakota, florida, and oklahoma. now let's move to regulatory policy, the other half of economic policy -- economic freedom. so here we have things like land use which are really substantial, things like health insurance in terms of the pre-ppaca, and here again you see new york comes in last. new york is an interesting case we can go into more perhaps in the q&a where it does so poorly even compared to the9