Kim Jong Eun takes a bride

Al Kamen
Columnist July 25, 2012

The mystery surrounding that female companion of North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun is solved — and sorry, ladies, he’s off the market.

That lucky gal who’s been spotted in the company of the fresh-faced dictator (whose impressive résumé includes “human rights abuser” and “freedom quasher”) is being identified by state media as his wife, “Comrade Ri Sol Ju.”

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993. View Archive

So perhaps it’s time to alert those Vogue editors who found Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad such a compelling profile subject. After the mag canned its glowing story about the wife of President Bashar al-Assad — known for his bloody crackdown on dissidents — the Loop suggested other wives of despots who might make fodder for future glossy spreads.

At the time, though, we could identify the woman in Kim Jong Eun’s life only as “an international woman of mystery.” Now that we know Comrade Ri Sol Ju is his lawfully married wife, we can wholeheartedly endorse her for the Vogue dictator-chic treatment.

She meets the apparent criteria: She’s young (our colleague Chico Harlan estimates that she appears to be in her late 20s or early 30s), trim-figured and stylish — at least by North Korean standards. (Harlan notes she sported a yellow polka-dot dress with a white jacket during a recent appearance with the Dear Leader’s heir.)

Add Jimmy Choo stilettos or a Chanel frock and she’s camera-ready!

Submit! Don’t be a twit!

Time’s a-wasting to enter the Loop’s contest to suggest what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should tweet — if she ever decides to.

We noticed that almost 45,000 people are following @HRClinton even though Clinton’s never written a single tweet. Even though it’s not an official account, plenty of people clearly are interested in what Clinton has to say to the Twitterverse. So, what should that be?

We’re enlisting Loop fans to suggest which 140 characters should mark her entry into the twitterverse. To put it another way, WSHT? (What Should Hillary Tweet?)

The 10 best entries will win a coveted Loop T-shirt. Submit your suggestions to intheloop@
washpost.com
, and be sure to provide your name, profession, mailing address and T-shirt size (M, L or XL), in case you’re a winner. You can enter “on background” if you like.

The contest ends Friday, Aug. 3, so get those entries in.

Justices: The board game

The choice between President Obama and Mitt Romney is not likely to be decided by voters deeply concerned about the Supreme Court.

But the election will certainly affect the court, though perhaps not right away.

And it appears that a President Romney has far more potential to influence the court than does Obama.

The oldest justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg , turns 80 in March, just past the average retirement age of 79 in recent decades.

The next oldest are conservatives Antonin Scalia (77 in March) and Anthony Kennedy (turned 76 on July 23 — happy birthday!) and liberal Stephen Breyer , 74 next month.

Here are some possible variations on the state of play:

Say Obama wins reelection. Odds are that he would replace Ginsburg and maybe Breyer. That would shore up the minority liberal quartet but not provide a fifth vote. The oldest conservatives would probably opt to stay on the court. (If either or both left, the court would go to a liberal majority.)

President Romney, however, would have tremendous opportunities. First, he would replace Ginsburg, which would add a sixth vote for conservatives — insurance against what some see as the “errant” jurisprudence of Chief Justice John Roberts ’s vote on the Affordable Care Act — in future years. (Of course, that decision removed the possible “out-of-control, unelected court” as a campaign issue had the justices struck down the health-care law.)

But Scalia and Kennedy would be more likely to retire during Romney’s presidency. If they did, that would ensure a dominant conservative 6 to 3 majority for many years. And if he were to win reelection and replace Breyer, then a muscular 7 to 2 conservative majority would rule the court for as far as the eye can see.

Democrats’ best chance for a liberal court majority would probably require Obama to win reelection and then Hillary Clinton to win in 2016.

That’s a lot of votes

Sen. Patrick Leahy cast a 14K vote on Wednesday.

No gold here, just the Vermont Democrat’s 14,000th “yea” or “nay” in the chamber — a milestone that puts him in an elite club. Only six other senators have reached that marker: Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), and the late Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.).

In an odd coincidence, the vote happened to be the 13,000th for Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.). And in another happenstance, Vice President Biden was presiding over the chamber for the historic moment.

Leahy was modest about the occasion, issuing thanks to his staff and to colleagues in a brief speech. “I value the Senate, I love the Senate,” he said, but added that credit for his career went to his wife, Marcelle.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop. Twitter@InTheLoopWP.

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