Lawyers Journal

Supreme Court’s Breyer leads Shakespeare reading, discussion on the art and practice of judging

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will host a discussion and debate on the art and practice of judging framed by a staged reading of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.”

The event, which will be held Tuesday, June 12 at 5 p.m. at Boston’s Shubert Theatre, is free to the public. It is the seventh in a series entitled Shakespeare and the Law, which is produced by the Boston Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, in conjunction with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company.

The event is directed by CSC Artistic Director Steven Maler and produced by McCarter & English partner Daniel J. Kelly. The Massachusetts Bar Association serves as a co-sponsor of the event.

As in the past, the first hour will feature prominent judges, public officials and members of the bar performing an abridged version of one of Shakespeare’s works. This is followed by a discussion of the legal and political issues addressed in the play and their application to today’s headlines. Federal Judges Mark Wolf and Nancy Gertner and former U.S. Attorney
Wayne Budd will take on the lead roles of Angelo, Isabella and Vincentio.

Rounding out the cast will be former Gov. Paul Cellucci, federal Judges Douglas Woodlock, Rya Zobel, Patti Saris, Dennis
Saylor and Nathaniel Gorton, Supreme Judicial Court Justices Robert Cordy and Judith Cowin, U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Jennifer Braceras, Wilmer Hale Managing Partner Bill Lee, Ropes & Gray Managing Partner John Montgomery and Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Breyer will host and preside over the discussion following the play. Jan Crawford Greenburg, ABC News legal correspondent and author (most recently, “Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the United States Supreme
Court”), and Daniel J. Kornstein, attorney and author of “Kill All the Lawyers; Shakespeare’s Legal Appeal,” will moderate.
“Measure for Measure” is Shakespeare’s most direct study of law and society. As Kornstein notes, in it, the Bard addresses head on “how much public support and respect the law needs, whether or not to enforce dead letter statutes, and if it is better to interpret laws strictly or equitably.”

 

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