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A week before Supreme Court Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist swore in President George W. Bush to a second term as president last month, Justice Clarence Thomas presided over a little-noticed inauguration inside the court building. In an invitation-only ceremony, Thomas on Jan. 13 gave the oath of office to newly elected Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker, a close prot�g� and former aide to former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, ousted from office in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the judicial building rotunda in Montgomery, Ala. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said that by associating himself with someone closely identified with Moore, Thomas was “thumbing his nose” at current church-state doctrine just weeks before the Supreme Court considers two cases on the constitutionality of displays of the Ten Commandments on public property. The day after his inauguration, Parker was back in Montgomery for a second, less official swearing-in by none other than Moore himself. In remarks he gave after his second swearing-in, Parker reported that Thomas “admonished us to remember that the work of a justice should be evaluated by one thing and one thing only-whether or not he is faithful to uphold his oath, an oath which, as Justice Thomas pointed out, is not to the people, not to the state, and not to the constitution, but an oath which is to God Himself.” • Nearly a year after their release, the papers of the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun continue to yield priceless glimpses of life at the court. Tucked into a folder of routine correspondence relating to his law clerks is the program from the June 1996 farewell gathering of the clerks. Every June, with the justices in the audience, the clerks put on skits and sing songs, some of which boldly poke fun at their bosses. The lyrics and scripts are usually a tightly held secret. Here are lyrics from the 1996 program sung to the tune of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”: Ah, look at all the strange appointments./ Ah, look at all the strange appointments. /Ruth Bader Ginsburg,/ Strolls into work every day ’bout a quarter past three./ Thinks we don’t see. Stephen G. Breyer,/ Gave 50 speeches last year. / If they asked him, he came./ They were all the same. (Refrain) Crazy nominations./ Where did they all come from?/ Senate confirmations./ What were we thinking of? David H. Souter. /Cutting and pasting all night. /When there’s nobody there./ He doesn’t care. /Look at him working./ Writing those endless dissents that nobody will heed./ And no one can read. Sandra O’Connor./ Votes with the left, then the right./ So that nobody knows/ How the wind blows. Nino Scalia/ No one will join his invective and hyperbole./ Except for CT [Clarence Thomas].

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