Before announcing her withdrawal from public life on Tuesday, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor gave her newly retired colleague Anthony Kennedy a gift of sorts: her chambers. It was a gesture that affirmed the camaraderie and traditions that keep the court collegial, most of the time.

When Kennedy officially retired on July 31, he left behind one of the most coveted offices or chambers of the court, with a stunning view of the U.S. Capitol across the street. Its location enabled him to watch protesters outside, once leading him to utter this memorable if cryptic statement as abortion rights activists demonstrated in 1992: “Sometimes you don’t know if you’re Caesar about to cross the Rubicon or Captain Queeg cutting your own tow line.”

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