Since 1985, each of the past five late Supreme Court justices has been buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There are, in all, 10 justices buried at Arlington, which is eight more than the number of presidents. If a new bill that places restrictions on burials in the prestigious cemetery becomes law, however, justices may be forced to go knocking on heaven's door elsewhere.
The bill was introduced and passed by the House a few months ago, after the remains of Democratic fund-raiser Larry Lawrence were removed because it was learned that his military record had been falsified. According to the legal newspaper the Reporter, Arlington burials would be available only to highly decorated veterans, active-duty or retired members of the military, former prisoners of war and presidents.Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who earned a Bronze Star during World War II, would be kept out; a Silver Star or higher would be required. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who served in the National Guard, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was in the Army Air Forces Weather Service, "would not come close to being eligible," says the Recorder.
David Pride, executive director of the Supreme Court Historical Society, is against the legislation. Serving on the high court "is national service beyond the call of duty," he said. "If the nation has not made any other provision for them, they should be buried at Arlington if they want to be."
The bill is under consideration by the Senate, where Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, is said to be looking for language that will allow the justices entry.
- A FLAG FLAP - The winds and rains of El Nino were so hard on the rainbow flag raised at San Francisco's Harvey Milk Plaza in November by Gilbert Baker that he had to replace it on April 21.
In the following few weeks, the flagmaker received several anonymous phone calls from nearby residents bothered by the noise of the crisp new fabric flapping in the breeze.
He gave the flag a bath in Downy fabric softener, which solved the problem.
Baker, acclaimed as the Betsy Ross of San Francisco, disclaims credit as the designer of the rainbow flag, a gay icon.
"Flags are torn from the soul of the people," he says.
- Leah Garchik