On Tuesday June 7th the BBA will host Harvard Professor and former US Solicitor Charles Fried for a Supreme Court Roundup over lunch. This event got BBA Week wondering which Supreme Court Justice our members would like to spend their lunch hour with, so we are asking:

"If you could have lunch with any Supreme Court Justice, who would it be?"

*This week's question yielded well in excess of 200 responses - a Voices of the Bar record. Any responses not appearing in the June 6 edition of BBA Week will appear on www.bostonbar.org on Monday, June 6. We thank you for your understanding.

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Eric Fullerton at efullerton@bostonbar.org.


 

Peter M. Shapland – Day Pitney
"My choice for a lunch would be Clarence Thomas. Perhaps I could convince him to me ask a question."

Michele Whitham – Foley Hoag
"My dream Supreme Court lunch date would be, "Bill, Bill Brennan." When I was clerking in 1988-1989 for the incomparable Raymond J. Pettine, D.R.I., the phone would ring most mornings at around 8 a.m. and a cherry voice would boom, "Good morning! This is Bill, Bill Brennan. Is Ray still there?" After we laughed uproariously the answer was: "Of course, sir. There's been no election yet!" I always hoped then, as I do now, that "Bill, Bill Brennan" would just show up one day and take us all to lunch. I had then, as I do now, so much to ask him, and it would have been a supreme privilege to see those two icons of the bench enjoy each other's company."

Kenneth Parsigian  - Goodwin Procter
"It's hard to pick just one, of course, but I lean toward Robert Jackson.  The conversation would range from his beginnings as a country lawyer who "read" the law without graduating law school, to his work as the AG, to the Nuremburg trials.  And if there was any time left, he wrote some marvelous opinions we could discuss.
Besides, I've got to believe that anyone who quipped about the Court (and himself), "We are not final because we are infallible, we are infallible because we are final" would be an entertaining lunch companion."

Ariel Soiffer - WilmerHale
"I would pick Justice Jackson. I think he would be an interesting person: a Justice without a law degree, chief Nuremberg prosecutor, and AG, as well as Supreme Court Justice. I would be curious to discuss his concurrence in the Steel Seizure cases and see how much of it was driven by animus against Truman versus him thinking it was a good framework for analyzing conflicts between the Executive and Congress. To this day, we often refer to that case in thinking about these conflicts and it would be interesting to learn more about the politics and thinking behind the decision."

Laurel Mackay – Mass Department of Environmental Protection
"I would very much like to spend a lunch with Louis Brandeis, whose appointment to the Supreme Court Justice was nothing short of miraculous, given a 4-month horrendous confirmation battle due to his progressive championing of the underprivileged and the rampant anti-Semitism of the day.  His philosophy of the legal profession was that the law should be used to protect the most vulnerable in society.  He was a great crusader for the rights of workers, women's rights and the poor.  He was highly disturbed by the rise of corporate powers during his time and the rise of mass consumerism, both of which he deplored as very harmful to American culture.  He believed in the freedom of speech and individual rights as a key counterweight to these trends.  Given the recent collapse of Wall Street and the strong role of consumerism in current American society, he would have very interesting things to say about what beneficial actions could be taken by legislators and lawyers as leaders on these issues."

John D. Donovan, Jr. – Ropes & Gray
"This is tough.  I'm tempted to choose the game changers:  Marshall, Story, Taney or Harlan.  Or the current Justices who questioned me the closest so I can give it right back to them!  But in the end I'd chose Justice Robert Jackson as the most interesting lunch companion.   He was the last justice who "read" for the bar rather than graduating law school, who served as both U.S. Attorney General and Solicitor General, arguing more Supreme Court cases than any contemporary, took a "leave" from the Court to be the U.S. Chief Counsel in the war crimes trials at Nuremberg, and participated in some of the most important mid-20th century cases that laid the foundation for the Warren Court's decisions – including rejecting the alleged advice of his clerk William Rehnquist to uphold Plessy v. Ferguson to join the majority in Brown v. Board of Education.   Jackson's storied career was leavened with down-to-earth wit, as he was the Justice who famously said: "We are not final because we're infallible;  we're infallible only because we're final."  Listening to Justice Jackson, I’m afraid I'd ignore my tuna fish sandwich!"

Charles Felsenthal - John Hancock Financial Services
"Actually I'd very much enjoy having lunch with Sonia Sotomayor.  She and I were law school classmates, and we served together on the editorial board -- she as Managing Editor and I as Editor-in-Chief -- of what was then called Yale Studies in World Public Order.  (It's now the Yale Journal of International Law, and I've had to stop referring to it as the world's most obscure periodical.)  I think she was a wonderful choice for the Supreme Court, and I'd love to hear how she's liking it."

Renée M. Landers - Suffolk University Law School
"Because I teach Constitutional Law, over the years I have developed a lot of questions that I would like to ask various Supreme Court Justices.  Some of those questions are in the category of, "what were you thinking?!", in relation to a vote or opinion in a particular case. I admit that I would like to be able to try to persuade the justices with whom I regularly disagree about what I consider to be a better approach, but I know that such an exercise would probably be futile.  With all due respect to the current members of the Court with whom I am personally acquainted, Thurgood Marshall is the Justice with whom I would most liked to have had lunch.  He is most interesting to me because of his role as architect of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund strategy to erode the legal basis for racial discrimination and because he later had the opportunity as a member of the Court to give effect to the policies for which he had so capably and passionately advocated. The courage and risks he took to change the course of the country's history is an example to all lawyers.  I also admire his opinions--which are grounded in the reality of the lives ordinary people experience.  He never forgot that the law operates in service of the people.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be my second choice because of the similar role she played in changing the law relating to discrimination on the basis of sex.  It would also be fun to talk with her about her love of opera! "  

Betty Francisco - Millennium Partners Sports Club Management
"Without a doubt, it would have to be current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  As the first Latina Supreme Court Justice, she is a beacon of inspiration and a model for what other Latina lawyers like myself can achieve in the legal profession.  Her life journey of growing up in a public housing project in the South Bronx and how she rose up the ranks as an Assistant District Attorney in NY to a trial and appellate judge, and then to the highest court is fascinating and speaks to the power of perseverance, commitment and staying true to oneself.  To me, having the chance to learn about her journey and the challenges and opportunities she encountered would be worth a sandwich made of gold."

David Baker – Law Office of David Baker
"I would like to meet Justice Breyer.   On November 6, 2006, I argued the case of Marrama v. Citizens Bank et al, 127 S.Ct. 1105 (2007) before the full bench.  It was an exhilarating experience, of course, and meeting any of the justices on the bench at the time would be a thrill.  If I had to pick just one, however, it would be Justice Breyer.
Although he voted against my position (it was a 5 - 4 split), he obviously has a great sense of humor and I would be interested in knowing how he maintains that sense of humor despite the workload that the court carries, and whether he has any amusing anecdotes about his tenure to share."

Damian Wilmot – Goodwin Procter
"American hero and civil rights legend, Justice Thurgood Marshall.  He was a groundbreaker many times over.  He, among many other accomplishments, served as our Nation's first African-American Solicitor General and was the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.  He was also one of the most influential lawyers in American history--notably convincing the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education that the "separate but equal" doctrine had "no place" in public education and that "[s]eparate educational facilities are inherently unequal."  Justice Marshall's mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, famously said:  "A lawyer is either a social engineer or he is a parasite on society. . . .  [A] social engineer is the mouthpiece of the weak and a sentinel guarding against wrong."  Justice Marshall was the embodiment of Houston's concept of social engineering through the law."

Constance Martin – LeClair Ryan
"I would love to lunch with Justice Robert H. Jackson.     An eloquent writer, he crafted some of the most memorable Supreme Court decisions with language that still resonates today and is also known for his service as the chief American prosecutor in Nuremberg after WWII (which probably cost him the chief justiceship).  I am especially moved by his rising from a hospital bed to rejoin the Court when Brown v. Board of Education came down so the nation would see a unanimous ruling."

Darren L. Braham - Ropes & Gray LLP
"This was a tough question!  It would probably have to be Justice John Marshall, whose judgment in Marbury, that the federal court has the power of judicial review over laws that violate the Constitution, really provides the backbone to the notion of "checks and balances".  Also, it'd be pretty great to have lunch with Justice Lucius Quintus Cinnatutus Lamar, but only if he put his name forward for the reservation!"

Christine Hughes – Emerson College
"As a proud Dartmouth graduate, how could it be anyone but Justice Marshall, who wrote the 1819 decision in Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward? He would probably want to discuss lofty issues of the sanctity of contract, but what I’d really like is the dish on Daniel Webster as an appellate litigator!"

William Sinnott – Office of the Corporation Counsel City of Boston "I've always admired the late Justice Robert Jackson, whose deep belief in the rule of law permeated his leadership of the prosecution at Nuremberg.  As a veteran of peacekeeping duties in Bosnia, I'd want to discuss the reach and limits of the law and how it's being applied today at tribunals in The Hague and Guantanamo."

Mary Griffin - Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
"I would like to have lunch with Chief Justice Warren because of his role in banning segregation in public schools in the 1950s. I grew up in the south and got to know Judge Frank Johnson, who helped desegregate busing in Alabama and gave the order that permitted the Selma march. He had fascinating stories about those times, and I bet Chief Justice Warren would too. I also would like to ask the Chief Justice how he became both the Republican and Democratic nominee for Governor of California."

Colin Zick – Foley Hoag
"I would want to have lunch with Benjamin Cardozo, so I could ask him about something I learned in a law school seminar:  that he apparently made up some of the key facts reported in his decision in Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail Road Co." 

Louis Tompros – WilmerHale
"I would want to have lunch with Justice Thurgood Marshall -- in part to hear about his remarkable collection of Supreme Court opinions, but even more because of his work before being appointed to the Court.  What other Justice could you have lunch with and get an insider's history of the Civil Rights Movement, a view into the fascinating politics of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and advice about how to become one of the most successful appellate advocates in history?"

Vivian Tseng – Welch Foods, Inc
I would love to have lunch with Justice Thurgood Marshall so that I can ask him about his evaluation of racial equality today and ask him how he feels about Justice Clarence Thomas taking the "Marshall seat."

Bruce D. Jobse - Burns &  Levinson, LLP
"I would like to have lunch with William Cushing, Associate Justice of the original US Supreme Court; nominated by George Washington and the longest-serving of the Court's original members (September 26, 1789 – September 13, 1810). My home stands on part of his former estate in Scituate, MA and there are numerous rumors and legends about the property and neighboring structures for which I would like to hear the real story."

John A. Shope - Foley Hoag LLP
"I would want to have lunch with Joseph Story, not only because he was so influential (especially in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States), but also because he was from Massachusetts (Marblehead and Salem in particular) and because he sat on the Court during an extremely important formative period.  He was the youngest person ever appointed to the Supreme Court, and, despite, or perhaps because of that, one of the most influential, arguably second only to his contemporary, Chief Justice John Marshall."
 

Macey Russell - Choate Hall & Stewart
"Chief Justice Earl Warren is my choice.  Showing remarkable leadership and courage, he guided the Supreme Court to overturn the legalized segregation of our public schools in Brown v. Board of Education.  I would ask him, "What was the tipping point for you?"  Without Justice Warren and the Brown decision, our country would not have the diversity in government and business it has today."

Andrew Cohn – WilmerHale
"I would like to dine with Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr. because of his assertion that to be a civilized person one had to have at least once doubted one's own deepest convictions. Exploring that topic with Justice Holmes over lunch might provide insights for dealing with our current world filled with spouters of highly polarized 'certainties'."

Terry Segal – Duane Morris
"Chief Justice Earl Warren; he is my judicial hero for his decision for a unanimous Court outlawing school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. At lunch, I would ask him how he got the other 8 Justices to make the Brown decision unanimous."

Lawrence Cetrulo– Cetrulo & Capone LLP
"My choice for breaking bread with a Supreme Court Justice would be Oliver Wendell Holmes, well known to be an intensely talkative luncheon companion, "with a light, combative manner and a knack for verse rhythms and imagery."  I would be interested to hear about his Civil War experiences as a lieutenant in the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry who was nearly fatally wounded at Ball’s Bluff and at Antietam.  I would also like to discuss with him his recommendation of legendary Boston trial lawyer, Lee Friedman, to the Superior Court bench in 1903.  Mr. Friedman was the mentor of my mentor, Thomas D. Burns, marking four degrees of separation between yours truly and the eminent Mr. Justice Holmes."

*This week's question yielded well in excess of 200 responses - a Voices of the Bar record. Any responses not appearing in the June 6 edition of BBA Week will appear on www.bostonbar.org on Monday, June 6. We thank you for your understanding.