WASHINGTON – Justice Stephen Breyer, in a first for the Supreme Court, plans to follow in the footsteps of John McCain, Barack Obama, Weird Al Yancovic, Elmo and many other notables.
The justice will be a guest on NPR's "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me," the radio network's humorous weekly news quiz show.
He will, unsurprisingly, be the first justice to appear on the program, host Peter Sagal said. "We're immediately starting at the very top. Well, pretty close," Sagal said in a telephone interview.
Breyer will participate via telephone on March 15 in the program's "Not My Job" segment in which celebrities attempt to answer three extremely obscure questions.
For instance, Illinois Sen. Obama was quizzed on baseball Hall of Famer Wade Bogg's many superstitions. Yancovic, who produces rock music parodies, faced questions about entertainer Pia Zadora.
The program will air the weekend of March 17.
Sagal, who was prepping for an appearance by White House spokesman Tony Snow, said he has not settled on Breyer's three questions. But the host said he is curious about how the justices get along, among other things.
"How do you decide what to order for lunch when having a working lunch at the Supreme Court? Does the chief justice say, 'Let's see, there are four votes for Chinese food?" Sagal said.
Breyer, apparently a fan of radio quiz shows during his youth, was volunteered for the program by his brother, Charles, also a federal judge.
Sagal said Breyer talked to longtime NPR Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg before he accepted.
Still, on a program noted for its irreverence, might Breyer be in for a reception that is slightly less decorous than the norm for a Supreme Court justice?
Probably, Sagal acknowledged.
He recounted a recent visit from the commander of a naval battle group.
"We didn't treat him any better," Sagal said.