Color Me Justice: A New Toy for Lawyers

I have never had any artistic ability. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can hardly doodle.

Nevertheless, for many years I was an accomplished artist. My masterpieces were highly praised by two significant art critics and were prominently displayed in exhibits. The art critics were my mother and father, and the exhibit displays were found on the refrigerator in our kitchen and on the walls of the pastor’s study of Rev. William H. Haltom, a/k/a “Dad.”
I created my masterpieces not with a brush or a pencil. I did them with a crayon, and not just one crayon, hundreds of them.

You don’t have to be Picasso to take a crayon in hand and carefully color between the lines of an image created by a real artist. And I spent hundreds of happy hours as a child doing exactly that.

When I was growing up during the Eisenhower administration, I had two extensive collections. The first was of baseball cards. The second was Crayola crayons, literally hundreds of them.

While no one in my family smoked cigars, for some reason we had a lot of empty cigar boxes. I have no idea how a Baptist preacher like my dad collected so many cigar boxes. Either Dad had a secret vice, or the boxes were given to him by a bunch of smoking deacons. But I had a number of Hav-A-Tampa Jewels cigar boxes in my room when I was a child. One of those boxes was filled with baseball cards and another with crayons.

In the process of collecting Crayola crayons, I developed a wide breadth of knowledge about colors, a knowledge I have and utilize to this day. I not only knew the colors of the rainbow, I also knew such unique hues and shades as Magenta, Teal, Salmon, Almond, Burnt Sienna, Denim, Chestnut, Goldenrod, Indigo, Mahogany, Plum, Sepia and Periwinkle (which should not be confused with my all-time favorite cartoon character, Bullwinkle).

I gave up my art career many years ago. I have no idea what became of those precious cigar boxes full of crayons and pictures of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Pete Rose.

But I am thinking about taking up artistic pursuits again. And I already know what my first masterpiece will be. It will be a beautiful coloring of our current United States Supreme Court.

The ABA Journal has recently published the U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book, and it promises hours of artsy fun for your children or grandchildren, or for that matter, yourself.

Quoting Charles Lamb, the great Harper Lee wrote on the very first page of her classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.”

Yes, we were, and many of us still are. And even we grown-up lawyers need toys, other than our iPhones.

The U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book is exactly what the doctor, or in this case, the lawyer, ordered.

The 32-page book is filled with line drawings of famous Justices such as Thurgood Marshall, Louis Brandeis, and every member of the current Supreme Court.

It’s color me justice!

Now at first blush, so to speak, you might think one would only need two crayons to color Supreme Court Justices: a gray one for their hair and a black one for their robes. But our Supreme Court is quite colorful. In fact, I believe the Crayola Company will need to come up with some new colors for the Supreme Court Coloring Book. After all, how do you actually color Justice Antonin Scalia? How about Federalist Society Fuchsia?

While she is the court’s oldest member, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should definitely not be colored Granny Smith Apple Green. She is a say-it-loud, say-it-proud liberal, and she should be colored Bold Blizzard Blue!

John Roberts should be colored Chief Cherry and Sonia Sotomayor should be a nice Liberal Lavender.

Silent Justice Clarence Thomas? Let’s go with a Quiet Canary. And we’ll color Samuel Alito in Originalist Orange.

I think the ABA Journal is on to something. The U.S. Supreme Court Coloring and Activity Book could be just the first olive (a nice subtle green color, by the way) out of the bottle. The Journal should soon produce a whole line of toys for lawyers, including the Sandra Day O’Connor American Girl doll, Elena Kagan’s Dream House, and the Anthony Kennedy Twister game, requiring incredible swing vote contortions.

But until the opening of the ABA’s new store, Lawyer Toys R Us, we will have to enjoy the U.S. Supreme Court Coloring Book.

It sounds like the perfect Christmas stocking stuffer for yourself or some other special lawyer in your life.

Anybody got any empty cigar boxes?


Bill Haltom BILL HALTOM is a partner with the Memphis firm of Thomason, Hendrix, Harvey, Johnson & Mitchell. He is past president of the Tennessee Bar Association and is a past president of the Memphis Bar Association.