January 23, 2019 The Modern Law Library

Supreme Court’s history with alcohol gets a look in ‘Glass and Gavel’

By Lee Rawles

From the earliest days of the U.S. Supreme Court, alcohol has been part of the work lives and social lives of the justices. In the book Glass and Gavel: The U.S. Supreme Court and Alcohol, Nancy Maveety takes readers on a tour through the ways that SCOTUS and spirits have overlapped.

In this episode of the Modern Law Library, she speaks with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles about how she came to write this in-depth history. While the Prohibition Era would immediately spring to mind, the court faced a number of cases involving alcohol that impacted commerce, advertising, criminal justice and even gender discrimination laws. Alcohol was also part of the justices’ social lives, though the drinks that were popular–and the extent to which the justices were imbibing–changed along with the trends of the country.

Maveety, who in addition to being a scholar of constitutional law also studies mixology, shares how she selected a signature cocktail for each chief justice’s tenure. She also has a drink suggestion for readers which incorporates an ingredient that’s known to be one of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s favorites–and a cautionary tale about a normally teetotaling chief justice who dropped dead after sipping a sherry.

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In This Podcast:

Lee Rawles
Nancy Maveety is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Tulane University, specializing in U.S. Supreme Court studies, judicial decision making, and comparative judicial politics. She is the author of Glass and Gavel: The U.S. Supreme Court and Alcohol.