On Tuesday Justice Bobby Chamberlin of Hernando became the newest member of the Mississippi Supreme Court. Chamberlin previously served as a circuit court judge.

I wonder if the Supreme Court treats rookie justices like the NFL treats rookies? Will Justice Chamberlin will have to carry the other justices’ robes back to chambers after oral argument?

Also taking oaths on Tuesday for new terms were Justices Jim Kitchens, James Maxwell and Dawn Beam. They were already on the Court, with Justices Maxwell and Beam having replaced Justices Chandler and Pierce.

One thing I like about the current Supreme Court is that all the justices smile in the court photos that adorn the wall outside the courtroom. In the photos from many years ago, the justices were all scowling. I bet they were a real treat to argue to.

I’d much rather practice before a judge who smiles–or at least had proven the capability of smiling. I started to write that this is a trivial point, but changed my mind. It’s actually a pretty big deal. When you’ve seen a judge smile and they rule against you, I don’t think you interpret it the same as when it’s a judge who you’ve never seen act anything but angry or looking for an excuse to be angry.

Lawyers love friendly judges. The late Judge Robert Evans was probably the most popular trial judge in the state during my years of practice. He was the friendliest. You could literally go back to his office and help yourself to coffee. It was standing room only on docket call and motion days.