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For Law Professor, Bobblehead Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

By Jason Jacks on July 12, 2011

A bobblehead of Justice Clarence Thomas.

What better way to show your respect for someone than to immortalize them in bobblehead.

That’s exactly what Mason law professor Ross Davies and the rest of the staff at the Green Bag quarterly law journal do with respect to U.S. Supreme Court justices.

From William Rehnquist to Sandra Day O’Connor, the journal, of which Davies is executive editor and co-founder, has so far churned out bobbleheads for 14 current and past justices.

“We produce maybe one, two, or three a year,” says Davies, who has taught at the School of Law since 2002. “We do it just for fun.”

The latest justice to be immortalized was Clarence Thomas, who is marking his 20th year on the high court.

With respect to the current justices, Davies says they work in order of seniority to determine who is next in line to have a bobblehead made in their likeness. That means your up, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Once the bobbleheads arrive (they generally produce 1,000 to 1,500 of each), one is first sent to the justice and the rest are given to journal subscribers and handed out through fund-raising events. They’re not for sale.

“We don’t make very many, so they go rather quickly,” he says.

As for the reaction the bobbleheads get, Davies says they have heard back from some justices, who are flattered by the honor.

And why not? Each one is accessorized with items that represent important cases the justice has ruled upon. For instance, the Thomas bobblehead is standing on top of two pizza boxes, referencing a statement Thomas made during a 2005 telecommunications case: “One can pick up a pizza rather than having it delivered, and one can own a dog without buying a leash.”

“I don’t think we are hurting anyone’s feelings,” Davies says.

For a look at other bobbleheads, check out the stories here and here.

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