Judge John Roberts’ 1950s Family

Robin Givhan, who brought you such sartorial scandals as Condi Rice’s Black Boots and Dick Cheney’s Parka, follows up with the Roberts Family Warddrobe.

An Image A Little Too Carefully Coordinated (WaPo)

Photo: Even the clothes are conservative: Judge John G. Roberts, left, and his wife Jane, right, with their children Jack and Josie listen to President Bush's announcement. (Pool Photo By Shawn Thew) It has been a long time since so much syrupy nostalgia has been in evidence at the White House. But Tuesday night, when President Bush announced his choice for the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, it was hard not to marvel at the 1950s-style tableau vivant that was John Roberts and his family.

There they were — John, Jane, Josie and Jack — standing with the president and before the entire country. The nominee was in a sober suit with the expected white shirt and red tie. His wife and children stood before the cameras, groomed and glossy in pastel hues — like a trio of Easter eggs, a handful of Jelly Bellies, three little Necco wafers. There was tow-headed Jack — having freed himself from the controlling grip of his mother — enjoying a moment in the spotlight dressed in a seersucker suit with short pants and saddle shoes. His sister, Josie, was half-hidden behind her mother’s skirt. Her blond pageboy glistened. And she was wearing a yellow dress with a crisp white collar, lace-trimmed anklets and black patent-leather Mary Janes.

Unusual, I must admit. Certainly not disqualifying, however.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] Update: James Joyner picked up on this as well. […]

  2. dw says:

    OK, I’ll admit my West Coastness by asking: Doesn’t everyone in the DC Establishment dress like that? Isn’t that how their kids look in public?

    Keep in mind that I live in a city where billionaires wear polo shirts and business formal means wearing a tie with your flannel shirt.

  3. DaveD says:

    First, Bush announces his choice on national TV in prime time and the “guests of honor” are dressed like they’re right out of a 1950’s family sitcom. I know I saw Bush press his tongue into his cheek several times during his announcement. He knew right off the bat that the style would distract the Post from immediately speculating on Roberts’ stance on abortion.

  4. Brian J. says:

    Anyone dresses their children like the 1950s, that is, who puts a TIE on their children, must want to relive the 1950s, that is, roll back CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS!!!!

    I think I understand the argument.

  5. Oh Good: Constructive, Rational Dialogue…

    …or. perhaps not.
    First, James Joyner notes the following fashion review of the Roberts’ announcement in WaPo: An Image A Little Too Carefully Coordinated
    It has been a long time since so much syrupy nostalgia has been in evidence at the…

  6. leelu says:

    ..wtf is “wrong” with looking nice to meet the President of the United States?
    My puzzlement is where they managed to find clothes like that for the kids. Certainly not Old Navy, the GAP ot Tilly’s.

  7. Mikey says:

    They dressed in their best to meet the President of the United States? What is wrong with those people! Oh the humanity!

    Robin Givhan needs to develop a life, ASAP.

  8. Memo to Judge Roberts:

    Apparently, flip-flops are “in.” Saddle shoes are out. Unless you “flip-flop,” the Washington Post will humiliate your wife and call your little boy names.

    Of course, they’re already insinuating you aren’t “man enough” for the Supreme Court already, based on YOUR clothing choices over the last 50 years.

    Why should clothing choices matter for a guy who’s going to wear the same black robe for the next 35 years?

  9. Anderson says:

    I would have to guess Mrs. Roberts picked those clothes out.

    What’s amusing is how this plays with the Post article detailing Mrs. Roberts’ vaguely feminist past.

    Maybe the pink suit is actually meant to indicate her bold support of gay rights?

  10. McGehee says:

    I knew it was going to be fun, but I never guessed it would be this much fun.

  11. David C says:

    I think some people are being a little rough on Givhan. Sure, she’s being silly and frivolous, but she’s got the fashion beat! It’s an inherently silly and frivolous topic. And it’s the fashion beat in *Washington*, a city notoriously uninterested in fashion, so nobody’s going to read *any* of her articles if she doesn’t talk about politicians and only covers fashion shows in Milan or wherever the fark.

    I’m slightly curious, too, on the logistics of the situation. Givhan and others seem to be criticizing Mom and Dad for dressing the kids as if for Easter Sunday. But given that until, like, one hour before the announcement, the whole world thought Bush was nominating Edith Bunker to the Supreme Court, I wonder if the only clothes that still fit the kids and looked vaguely appropriate for the White House were, literally, the clothes they wore on Easter Sunday?

  12. dw says:

    I’m slightly curious, too, on the logistics of the situation. Givhan and others seem to be criticizing Mom and Dad for dressing the kids as if for Easter Sunday. But given that until, like, one hour before the announcement, the whole world thought Bush was nominating Edith Bunker to the Supreme Court, I wonder if the only clothes that still fit the kids and looked vaguely appropriate for the White House were, literally, the clothes they wore on Easter Sunday?

    You know, that’s what came to me as I looked at the picture — they really do look like Easter outfits, and given the short notice that would be my first choice for throwing the kids in if they were headed for the White House. And given the state of five year olds in itchy Easter garb, that would also explain why he acted out (and thus the smirk).

    I guess it’s just another reminder of how the MSM just doesn’t get religion.

  13. GardenStater says:

    Aww, that’s kind of cute actually.

  14. Peter says:

    Might it be possible that the reason why Easter outfits keep coming to mind is that Easter is about the only routine occasion a family has cause to dress more formally anymore?

  15. SUPREME COURT’S HOLY CROSS CONNECTION

    As focus turns away from what John Roberts is to who he is, will his religious beliefs be attacked? Will liberal groups who are pro-abortion and anti-Catholic criticize the Holy Cross connection among the Supreme Court justices?

  16. Scott in CA says:

    As many of us have been braying for years, there are simply dress “rules” and there are dress “fads”. Well bred people pay no attention to fads. Many of us are still wearing the same clothes that we wore in college. We were well dressed then, and we are well dressed now. I can think of perhaps a thousand other things I would worry about other than their children’s fashion statment.

  17. Well, OK, then. Their satorial inelegance counts as “exceptional circumstances,” so the Democrats can go ahead and filibuster.

  18. Maggie says:

    I knew it…Liberals hate “The Cunninghams”!

  19. Eric Preston says:

    Mocking Roberts’ children is pretty low. What’s the deal? How do you expect his family to dress to meet the President? The snide arrogance of those who criticize the “50’s family” is pathetic.

    And as for Roberts himself – would you make him take off his expensive suit, tie and shoes and dress him up in overalls and keep him in bare feet? Would that seem more trendy?

  20. Zsa Zsa says:

    The Judge and his family are just very retro!… I like their look!…

  21. ICallMasICM says:

    If the wife had at least had the progressive sensibilities to wear a wife beater and low riders so we could see her ass tats then we would all know that choice would be safe!

  22. Janey says:

    A father in his 50’s having 2 children under 6 years old seems more like a modern family.