In honor of former Supreme Court Chief Justices Edward Douglass White (1845-1921) and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), the Law Library of Congress will present excerpts from “Father Chief Justice,” a play by Louisiana State University law professor Paul R. Baier about the court’s ninth chief justice.
The play about the Louisiana-born White will be presented on Mardi Gras, Tuesday, March 8 at 2 p.m
. in the Coolidge Auditorium, located on the ground floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Advance reservations are required at (202) 707-5065 or [email protected]
The play provides a portrait of White in significant stages of his life. One act depicts his experiences in the Battle of Antietam facing death with his then enemy-in-arms Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. As the play continues, the audience witnesses the transformation of the relationship between White and Holmes from enemies to respected colleagues. White is again at Holmes’ side during World War I, when freedom of speech was at risk, in the “Campaign of the Constitution” scare. In recognition of their deep and abiding respect for each other, White and Holmes exchanged red roses every Constitution Day, Sept. 17, which, coincidentally, is the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in 1862 and the day that delegates at the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.
Playwright and law professor Baier also plays the role of Richard Henry James (“Jesse”), a close friend of Justice White. It also stars Charles Cooper, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, as Chief Justice White; Ronald Flagg, president of the District of Columbia Bar, as Justice John Marshall Harlan; Tom Goldstein, U.S. Supreme Court blogger, as Justice Louis Brandeis; Donald A. Hoffman, Hoffman Seydel, LLC, as a young Justice Holmes; Law Librarian of Congress Roberta I. Shaffer as Fanny Holmes; and Jacob A. Stein, Stein, Mitchell & Muse, LLP, as an older Justice Holmes.
Established by an act of Congress in 1832, the Law Library makes its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. government and the global legal community, and sustains and preserves a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 2.6 million volumes, the Law Library contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at www.loc.gov/law/
Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library holds more than 147 million items, including the papers of 39 justices and chief justices of the Supreme Court, including John Marshall, Roger B. Taney, Charles Evans Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Hugo Black, William O. Douglas and Harry Blackmun. The Library also holds a collection of more than 220 items pertaining to Justice Holmes and a 72-microfilm edition derived from the Oliver Wendell Holmes Papers at Harvard University. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov
and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov
The presentation is made possible by the Friends of the Law Library with the support of Georgetown University Law Center, LexisNexis, the Louisiana Bar Foundation, the Supreme Court Historical Society, the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society and Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.