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Michael
Michael, Librarian
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Why, do court justices or judges wear a robe over their clothes?

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Why, do court justices or judges wear a robe over their clothes? Just tradition? If so (or if not), what does it signify?
Hello, thank you for using this service. I wish to introduce myself. I am Michael, a Research Librarian with 20+ years of experience.

The origins on wearing robes by judges goes back to the days when clergy and judiciary were one and the same. Robes appeared in the 14th century in Britain as a feeling of pomp and ceremony. Around 1884 was when judges in the US began wearing the garment. The robes give a feeling of authority found in the UK it was felt.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/democracy/authority4.html

An interesting historical review of wearing robes can be found here in The New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/06/nyregion/06robes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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