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Jul 3, 2006 01:11 AM

Do any of the Supreme Court justices drink white zin?

This was the unexpected and hilariously funny first question posed in a videotaped interview with Ken Starr and Ted Olson about their victory in Granholm v. Heald, the ruling that ended discriminatory laws regulating direct wine sales to consumers. Neither was willing to confirm any white zin swilling by the justices, although Olson intimated that Scalia tends toward Sangiovese and Souter might prefer something milder. On top of the satisfaction of winning this case, Olson expressed his relief that as a resident of the state of Virginia, he wouldn't have to fear arrest for the many bottles of wine that his friends have sent him from out-of-state.

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  1. sometimes one would think that they have been nipping at Granny's XXX rheumatism medicine.

    1. I can see Roberts' wife drinking white zin, and Roberts himself probably has a nip or two, but never very much alcohol at all.
      Scalia, on the other hand, probably keeps numerous bottles of sangiovese in his chambers.
      Alito: chianti and lots of it.
      Thomas: closet white zin drinker; in public he drinks whatever Scalia is drinking.

      1. ok, about thomas, that's funny!

        5 Replies
        1. re: echo

          The interviewer was Tracy Genesen of Kirkland & Ellis. I felt sorry for the timing of her presentation with the video screening during Saturday morning's World Cup match which diverted most of the conference audience. She did a great job of delivering entertainment value as well as laying out the issues of the case in an easy to understand manner.

          After the discussion of the justices' white zin behavior, she squared herself up and said that it was time to get to more serious matters. Her next question was, "Do any of them have strong positions on bark cork vs. screw cap?" Olson cocked his head and replied, "Some justices are big into theory, others are more practical, leaning toward what is quickest and most efficient. Some may have a three-part test for deciding." (vbg)

          The 5:4 decision in Granholm v. Heald cut across ideological lines. Starr said that it was a difficult one to predict and that going in his team felt this would be the outcome. Thomas filed the dissenting opinion and did not follow Scalia who joined in Kennedy's majority. The tally was: *Kennedy, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Scalia, Souter, *Ginsburg, and *Breyer, JJ., joined. Stevens, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which O’Connor, J., joined. Thomas, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which *Rehnquist, C. J., and Stevens and *O’Connor, JJ., joined.

          Olson offered that Kennedy's background as a native son of Sacramento, providing California perspectives and an understanding of agricultural pressures, may have played a part in his finding. I put a "*" next to the names of the justices who are from California and/or schooled at Stanfurd, and it seems that Rehnquist and O'Connor were on the dark side this time. After arguments, the attorneys said they had felt O'Connor might be a swing vote.

          The issue of interstate shipping and loosening restrictions to yield to consumer demand is going to completely reshape the US wine market. As the US will be the world's biggest wine-consuming nation in the next couple years, this will have a giant impact on the global wine industry.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Gee, a lawyer from Starr's firm interviewing a lawyer from Scalia's son's firm. Good thing she had a sense of humor. A little surprising that Sandra Day went the other way. btw, Stanford is spelled with an o.

            1. re: slacker

              Starr was supposed to address the conference. Because he had a conflict that prevented his appearance, we watched the video they made instead.

              My spelling of Stanfurd is a gentle ribbing directed at a favorite chowhound and alum of that august institution. (g)

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Or you could say, "Jr. University." We hate that.

              2. re: slacker

                Because it was a close decision, we need to remain ever vigilant about holding onto this consumer right. It could easily go the other way in the future.

                P.S. It took considerable restraint on my part to now add "Jr. University" in my earlier post. (vbg)

          2. No, any bottles of white zin are rejected and remanded to the refrigerater belonging to an appellate judge from a lower court.

            1. Warren Burger, Chief Justice back in the day, was a wine connoisseur and tipped my dad to a vintage of Chateau Latour which was dramatically underpriced. He bought several cases.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Brian S

                Did you get a chance to drink some of the Latour? What vintage?

                In the current 2005 en primeur campaign, Haut Brion released prices early and is now underpriced quite a bit in relation to the other first growths and with superior quality, many say.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  As I recall it was 1963. (I might be a year or two off...) It was a dreadful year for bordeaux, the worst in memory. But somehow Latour managed to produce a decent wine. No one would buy it because of the stigma of a 1963 label, so the price sank really low.

                  1. re: Brian S

                    You might mean the 1965 vintage as one of the worst ever. The 1963 was an average to below average vintage. It compares to 1987 or 1991 not great vintages, but with some effort and research you might score a great bottle or two depending on appellation and/or Chateau.