This story is over 5 years old.


Even nominees for the Supreme Court choose terrible yearbook quotes

It’s a good idea to choose your yearbook quote carefully — especially if you ever intend to serve on the Supreme Court. Case in point: Donald Trump’s nominee for the next SCOTUS justice, Neil Gorsuch, opted for this gem in the 1988 Columbia University yearbook.

The quote was confirmed by Jocelyn Wilk, an archivist at the Columbia University Archives.

It might have been comedy gold to the budding conservative jurist at the time, but the quote takes on a slightly different cast as Gorsuch prepares to undergo the intense scrutiny thrust on nominees for the high court, whose job is to determine the constitutionality of government actions.

While Gorsuch dated the quote August 29, 1967, the first confirmed use of it was actually Henry Kissinger quoting himself in 1975, when he was secretary of state under President Gerald Ford. He said it during a meeting with Turkish officials, while discussing a U.S. arms embargo on Turkey that Kissinger was apparently unhappy with. In the meeting, a Turkish official suggested working around the ban by moving U.S. arms to Turkey through Europe. The U.S. ambassador flatly deemed the act illegal. Kissinger’s response:

Kissinger was apparently so fond of the quote that during his farewell-from-office ceremony, Deputy Secretary of State Charles W. Robinson jokingly called it a Kissinger “principle.”

We don’t know why Gorsuch chose the quote and cited that date, or how he intended the quote to be taken, but then again how many of us would want to be judged by our yearbook quote? We reached out to the White House and Judge Gorsuch for comment and will update with any response we get.