Justices With Facial Hair
There was a time when multiple members of the Supreme Court had beards or mustaches. By my count, the Court hit peak-facial hair in 1868, when seven of the nine Justices had some form of facial hair. Only Chief Justice Chase and Justice Nathan Clifford bucked the trend.
A close runner-up is the Taft Court in 1923. I count five members with facial hair. Chief Justice Taft gave Justice Holmes a run for his mustache.
In the modern era, facial hair has largely faded. Looking through the group photos of the Warren Court, and on, I see mostly bare faces. Justices Marshall and Thomas had mustaches. And, for a period, Justice Rehnquist had forgettable sideburns. (As they say, if you remember the 70s you weren’t there!)
According to my non-scientific research, only one Justice in the modern era had a beard on the bench–Justice Scalia circa 1996. This was big news in the day. The Associated Press published the story titled, “To beard or not to beard: That’s [the] question. Scalia causes a stir when he shows up on first day of term with facial hair.”
It wasn’t doctor-assisted suicide or the future of affirmative action that caught the attention of Supreme Court watchers on the opening of the 1996-97 term Monday. It was the beard adorning Justice Antonin Scalia’s normally clean-shaven face, and it left them wondering, will he shave it?
Promptly at 10 a.m. when the nine Justices walked through the backdrop curtains and took their seats, all eyes were upon Scalia. Over the summer recess, he grew a beard. He became the first justice since Charles Evans Hughes, the chief justice from 1930 to 1941, to sport a beard.
And a beaut it is. Not vaguely 1920s like Hughes’ dropping mustache and parted beard and not a full Paul Bunyan, like some others in the old days.
This was a beard, black-and-white speckled, that came down from the sideburns, ac
Article from Reason.com