What Did Laverne Cox and Antonin Scalia Talk About?

Our writer fantasizes about the White House Correspondents Dinner chat between the ‘OITNB' star and the conservative SCOTUS justice on the eve of the gay marriage decision.

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Anyone else wonder what Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia and Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox discussed at the White House Correspondents Dinner? I sure did. Here’s how it went in my fantasy.


Justice Antonin Scalia: Hello, young lady. I just had to meet you. I’m …

Laverne Cox: I know who you are. You’re Justice Antonin Scalia. You’re on the Supreme Court. I’m Laverne Cox.

A.S.: Very impressive knowledge, Ms. Cox. I hope you won’t be offended. I wanted to meet you to tell you that you have lovely hair. But that’s not all. Ms. Cox, I must tell you that your hair is as I have always imagined the hair of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

L.C.  How interesting. I don’t know if I know what her hair looks like. I mean, I certainly didn’t mention her by name when we were discussing a style.

A.S.: Of course. None of us knows exactly that the Virgin’s hair looks like because in all reasonable depictions she wears a veil to demonstrate her piety and feminine modesty. Anyway, sometimes, while listening to arguments, I look off into the distance, glowering. It’s just my thing! And I know everyone thinks I’m thinking about how the Constitution is not a living document, and how anyone who believes it is should be executed. And I’d be lying if I said that doesn’t cross my mind! But what I’m principally doing at those moments, Ms. Cox, is imagining what the Virgin’s hair looks like, from what I can tell just seeing the edges of it. And I know now that it would look like yours. And that’s why I just had to meet you.

L.C.: Well, that is certainly a compliment coming from a man who will drive long distances to find churches that do things pre-Vatican II style.

A.S.: Wow, you know what Vatican II is? That is very impressive.

L.C.: Well, I mean it is one of my favorite nightclubs. I’m kidding. I know what Vatican II is. And thanks for the compliment about my hair. Are you having a good time?

A.S. Well, I am a little tired, to be honest. I have quite a week ahead of me. But let’s talk about you. What do you do?

L.C.: I’m an actress. I play Sophia on a television show on Netfilx: Orange Is the New Black.

A.S.: Orange Is the New Black? What kind of insanity is that? Orange is orange, black is black. I don’t understand how some person just comes along and announces to all of us “orange is black now!” and expects us to just nod and say “Okay, sounds great, thanks.”

L.C.: I just work there. I can take it up with my boss.

A.S.: Who is your boss?

L.C.: Her name is Jenji Kohan.

A.S.: Her name is Jenji? That’s really her name? The name her parents gave her?

L.C.: I’m not exactly sure. It’s the only name I’ve ever known her to have.

A.S.: These people changing their names these days. I bet you didn’t do that. I mean, your mother named you Laverne and you run off and disrespect the woman who carried you for nine months and brought you into this world by running off and changing your name to … Minji or Banjo or whatever. What I’m trying to say, Ms. Cox, is that if you kill someone, you deserve to die. Simple as that. I know you know what I mean.

L.C.: I think I’m probably a little more comfortable with change than you are.  

A.S.: I come from the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” school of life.  

L.C.:  Actually, Laverne is my middle name. Sorry to disappoint you.

A.S.: It is a little disappointing, but not entirely. Let me put it this way. If your mother named you Laverne and you just went by Laverne, that would be the equivalent, for me, of no woman ever getting to have an abortion, ever. But you going by Laverne as your middle name is like as good as states at least being able to decide for themselves whether a woman can get an abortion.

L.C.: I don’t know you that well, but it seems to me—though I don’t want to be presumptuous here—that you’re showing some admirable and dare I say, uncharacteristic flexibility here. I think you’re ready for me to share something with you.

A.S.: I’m all ears.

L.C.: My hair isn’t real.

A.S.: What do you mean it’s not real?

L.C.: I mean that it’s a wig. Justice Scalia? Is everything Okay? You’re white as a sheet.

A.S.: I think I need to sit down.

L.C.: Take it easy. Breathe into my clutch.

A.S.: Oh, Ms. Cox. All my life I feel like I have known the answer. And even when I was surrounded by those who didn’t, I took comfort in imagining the Virgin’s hair. You can’t imagine the purity of these reveries, and what succor they brought. And tonight, you were standing there, and I saw you, and I realized that all these years it is your hair that I have been picturing. And now you tell me that it is not even real. And this throws into question everything I know. And … I’m sorry, is this boring?

L.C.: No, no. Please go on.

A.S.: I now realize that if I can’t tell the difference between the incarnation of the Virgin’s hair on Earth and a wig, then maybe I know nothing.

L.C.:  Justice Scalia? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.

A.S.: I beseech you, Ms. Cox, to tell me if you are the Devil or a messenger from God.

L.C.:  I’m a TV actress from Mobile, Alabama. You’re going to have to draw your own conclusions.

A.S.: I was afraid you were going to say that. Here I am, on the eve of one of the greatest battles of my life, and I, who have always prided myself on a certain unwavering sense of reality, and whose personal philosophy has always been, “This is just how things are, because this is how they have been,” well, I realize I now that I know nothing. I am going to recuse myself from this case. In fact, I am going to step down from the court. All because I met you, all because I saw the glint and shine of your hair and realized it was what I dreamed of all these years and then found out that the dream was not even real and yet did not cease to be lovely upon this revelation. Tell me, Ms. Cox, when you were a little girl, growing up in Mobile, Alabama, did you ever think to yourself, one day, I’m going to grow up, and be beautiful, and put on a wig, and it’s going to change history?


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