They Fought the Law: Fred Strebeigh’s Equal

Michael O’Donnell writes in the Nation, “A colleague of mine recently argued an important civil rights case before the Supreme Court. In the hectic days before she left for Washington, as she reread every relevant decision and practiced clearing her throat, her attention was diverted by a niggling question: what would she wear to the oral argument? A fellow lawyer had set her to worrying by telling the cautionary tale of a female assistant solicitor general who some years earlier had shown up to court in what then-Chief Justice Rehnquist apparently regarded as an unlovely shade of brown. Halfway through her presentation, Rehnquist sent a note to the solicitor general, saying that he never wanted to see a government attorney wearing that color to the court again.”