At most inaugural events the sartorial buzz is about what designer dress the First Lady is wearing. But yesterday everyone was more interested in a Supreme Court Justice’s hat. Many people were left wondering: Why is Antonin Scalia wearing a renaissance era painter’s hat?
University of Richmond School of Law professor Kevin Walsh has the answer:
The hat is a custom-made replica of the hat depicted in Holbein’s famous portrait of St. Thomas More. It was a gift from the St. Thomas More Society of Richmond, Virginia. We presented it to him in November 2010 as a memento of his participation in our 27th annual Red Mass and dinner.
Was the imitation of More a form of silent protest? As First Things’ Matthew Schmitz says:
Wearing the cap of a statesman who defended liberty of church and integrity of Christian conscience to the inauguration of a president whose policies have imperiled both: Make of it what you will.