Roberts Nickname Contest Results!

What Bush will call his Supreme Court nominee.

“Ooh! I hope ‘Booger Lips’ wins!”

Earlier this week, I invited Slate readers to invent a nickname President Bush could give his Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts Jr., to show him who’s boss. (Although everybody in Washington pretends that Bush’s penchant for bestowing nicknames is boyishly endearing, in fact, as Garry Trudeau has observed, it’s an ugly ritual of domination.) The reader entries were, as usual, very fine, but they revealed a tension in the exercise that hadn’t occurred to me up front. If a submission was too clever, it lost plausibility as something Bush would actually say. On these grounds, I rejected many very clever nicknames incorporating the word “Roe” (as in Roe v. Wade): J Roe, NoRoe, Roe-berts, etc. On the other hand, if a submission was too plausible, it tended not to be clever enough. On these grounds, I vetoed Plaid Pants, Altar Boy, Harvey Crimson, John Boy, and Roberto. (This last, submitted by more than one reader, actually manages to be too plausible and too clever at the same time since it doubles as Bush’s unconscious commentary on his failure to pick a minority candidate; in the same vein, one reader suggested “Slappy White.” Similarly, many readers suggested “J.R.” and “J.R., jr,” both of which sound like something Bush would say but also allude to Roberts’ being named for his father, a worrisome fact about the nominee on which I commented earlier.)


Many readers, obviously fascinated by Roberts’ purported role in an all-boys’ high school production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, suggested “Peppermint Patty.” But I didn’t want to get mixed up in a scurrilous rumor-mill, and besides, as noted on the Tin Man Web log, there is no Peppermint Patty character in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. (I saw the original off-Broadway production when I was 9 or 10.) Also funny, but too overtly hostile, I felt, to imagine Bush using them were “Love Monkey,” “Ken,” and “Spongebob Supreme Court.”

But I digress.

The finalists are:

9th Runner-Up: Johnny Bobs
(from reader William Shakely)

8th Runner-Up: Brylcreem
(from reader Thomas McGuire)

7th Runner-Up: Vanilla Bean
(from reader Lisa A.)

6th Runner-Up: Ro[e]Fo[e]
(from reader Greg Solestar)

5th Runner-Up: Legs (short for “legacy”)
(from reader Ray Hafner)

4th Runner-Up: Blank Check
(also from reader Ray Hafner)

3rd Runner-Up: Roeminator
(from reader Seth Chamberlain)

2nd Runner-Up: Ned Flanders
(from reader Alison Miller)

1st Runner-Up: Hoosier Daddy
(from an anonymous reader)

And the winner is …

Tort Blossom
(From reader Jay Shuck)