[Justice Anthony] Kennedy's vanity was generally harmless, almost charming -- sort of like the carpet in his office.So, let's see. Some law-clerk source of Toobin's was all... Omigod, you should see the carpet in Kennedy's office. It's all red like thick red like something you'd put in a theater set and it has like these garish stars all over it, so whenever our friends come in late at night we always go into Kennedy's chambers. I am always all you have got to see these garish stars like festooned all over the thing. I mean, like O'Connor has these really tasteful Native American thingies and Ginsburg has all this really high-class opera crap, and Stevens has that Babe Ruth thing because he actually saw Babe Ruth. My friend was all O'Connor and Ginsburg and Stevens all have stuff that like represents actual interests, you know, represents who they are. So it's like Kennedy is thick red carpet with gold stars, you know what I mean? Now, we all say that to each other whenever we want to crack up. It's always good when you want to roll on the floor laughing to have this really thick, plush, Kennedyesque, red carpet with garish stars to roll on.
Understatement was the rule for the decor in most justices' chambers. Everyone had a few personal touches -- O'Connor employed a southwestern motif, with Native American blankets and curios; Ginsburg had opera mementos; Stevens had the box score from the World Series game in 1932 when Babe Ruth hit is "called shot" home run against the Chicago Cubs. (Stevens had attended the game as a twelve-year-old boy.) Kennedy, in contrast, installed a plush red carpet, more suited to a theater set than a judge's chambers. Worse (or better, depending on one's perspective), the carpet was festooned with gold stars -- garish touches that made the office a sort of tourist attraction for law clerks and other insiders.
What the hell? So what if Kennedy has proletarian taste in carpet? Does that mean anything about him? And, supposing it does, why would a man who likes thick carpet and bright colors be less suited to make decisions for us than someone with high-class, refined tastes? Who are these asinine clerks who are trying to take the justice down a peg because of his carpet?
And what the hell is a "theater set"? If you mean the carpet seemed like the kind you'd find in the aisles or lobby of a theater, that is not the set. The set is up on the stage, and the kind of carpet that would belong in the set would depend on what the play was. We're not using plush red with gold stars for "Long Day's Journey Into Night" or "Waiting for Godot."
Back to the passage that is irking me so bad:
All of the justices had the right to borrow paintings from the National Gallery, but Kennedy had taken the fullest advantage, plucking several near-masterpieces from the collection.Now, what's the problem? He's got the good taste to pick the best paintings? Or do you think he's hogging paintings that the National Gallery would like to have on display for the general public? I'm willing to bet that the National Gallery is lending paintings that would otherwise be in storage. So now you're knocking Kennedy because he likes art? That makes him inferior -- more grandiose -- than the justices who display their personal memorabilia? Why?
What was more, he wedged his desk into the far corner of his office, away from the door, so that visitors had to traverse the expanse of the room to shake his hand.Who's imposing that interpretation of the placement of the desk? There are any number of reasons why you might choose to position your desk in a corner. In fact, if Toobin wasn't in the middle of promoting the theory that Kennedy -- as the next sentence reads -- "tried hard, maybe too hard, to impress," most readers would probably think the corner was a rather humble position for a desk. Or maybe the light is better over there. But Kennedy is a ridiculous man, don't you know. He has red carpet, paintings, and a desk in the corner. Q.E.D.