The Reliable Source: A Book Party Supreme

By Richard Leiby
Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Washington book parties these days tend to be partisan or hermetic affairs, but this one certainly wasn't: Four justices of the Supreme Court, a bevy of conservative think-tankers, an ex- Clinton administration legal ace, a Washington ballerina and a bushy-bearded heavy-metal guitarist turned out Monday night to celebrate Linda Greenhouse's first book, "Becoming Justice Blackmun," a biography of the late Harry Blackmun.

Sporting sheer black lace gloves, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg sipped white wine and spoke highly of Greenhouse, a New York Times reporter who has covered the Supremes for 27 years. "There's no one else who captures the court quite like she does," the justice told us. "And I think we all feel that way."

Her colleagues Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter and Stephen Breyer also dropped by the small party at the Capitol Hill home of Heritage Institute legal scholar James Swanson, who noted that together the four could grant certiori certiorari should an emergency case arise. "I'm very flattered," Greenhouse said. "It's a nice way to get launched."

Several guests lined up to chat with lithesome lissome Michele Jimenez of the Washington Ballet, recently seen onstage as Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet." Her full-bearded escort turned out to be step -dad Leonardo Susana, who plays in JLS, a metal band from the Dominican Republic. Susana listed Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Judas Priest among his influences.

"I wanted to be a rock-and-roller," announced Walter Dellinger, acting solicitor general for Bill Clinton and, more recently, a Martha Stewart defense lawyer. "Not even a star, but one of the back -ups, like a Pip in Gladys Knight and the Pips."

Then he spun around twice on the Oriental carpet, displaying competent Pip-like pirouettes.

"Very good," Jimenez said with a giggle.

But it's probably a good thing too that, by then, the justices had adjourned.

Dennis Hopper, Riding Easy at Last

  • Finally, bad-boy actor Dennis Hopper has an invitation to come to Washington!
  • During inaugural festivities in January, the staunch Bush supporter was mysteriously disinvited from an official event on the Ellipse, which prompted him and wife Victoria to also cancel their appearance at a gala put on by the Creative Coalition. Still no word on what peeved Republicans, but the nonpartisan arts group is making good by bringing the Hoppers to the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on Saturday.

    Meanwhile, MSNBC "Hardball" producer Tammy Haddad tells us she has booked two media adversaries for her annual pre-dinner brunch: conservative Matt Drudge and liberal Arianna Huffington. "Maybe it will be the first face-off of the day!" Haddad said, wishfully.


  • Washington-based conservative radio host Laura Ingraham, 40, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. "You know I hate drama kings or queens, but I am asking for your prayers today and for the forseeable foreseeable future," she said on her Web site yesterday before undergoing an operation. A friend told us: "Fortunately, the doctors believe at this point that they have caught the cancer early enough to give her a hopeful prognosis."
  •  With a Secret Service guard, the mallard duck nesting outside the Treasury Department may be the safest duck on the planet -- but she's not the ritziest. There's a wood duck feathering her nest in high style right outside the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown. "Our security team has put a velvet rope and stanchions around her and the nest," reports PR rep Colleen Evans. "She's getting bottled Ritz water to drink and cracked corn to eat -- both served in a silver Ritz bowl." Plus, out of respect, the chef at Fahrenheit has temporarily taken the duck breast off the menu. Aww.
  •  Do-gooders and good sports: Venus and Serena Williams are tag-teaming tonight at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center to raise funds for the Recreation Wish List Committee's 10th anniversary. Another legendary tennis player, Pam Shriver, will be there, as will gospel star Yolanda Adams. Committee founder Cora Masters Barry tells us that more than 600 will attend "An Evening at the Net." Meanwhile, Sen. Barack Obama, one of the group's honorary chairs, said he hoped to make it, but not before he also appears at tonight's seventh annual Hoop Dreams Scholarship Fund Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill.
  • Annals of Puffery

    An Occasional Verbatim Press Release

    "A Harris poll, sponsored by Life Savers, found out the truth about office candy dish owners and what actually goes on at the dish. Here are a couple of stats:  Candy dish owners are more likely to be Republican (41 percent) than Democratic (37 percent).  Democrats were more likely than Republicans to get asked out on a date at the candy dish and twice as likely to flirt....

    "As for political figures, the survey releaved that the Red State/Blue State divide extends to candy dishes: 31 percent of Democrats said President Bush would be the least likely famous person to refill the candy dish, while 38 percent of Republicans felt Hillary Clinton wouldn't spring for refills."

    With Anne Schroeder

    © 2005 The Washington Post Company