John Paul Stevens at
Marcello’s in Atlanta.
Justice Stevens authored the Padilla
v. Kentucky decision, which provides a
vehicle for me to win habeas relief for my
immigrant clients who have previously pled
guilty without knowing the immigration
consequences. As a part-time magistrate
judge and full-time lawyer, I get to
experience justice from both sides and
see how my actions and decisions affect
individual’s lives. I want to give Justice
Stevens the opportunity to see and taste
what his decision has wrought.
In 1977, the chef/owner of Marcello’s
escaped the Lebanese Civil War and made
his way to the U.S. with his family. He
received his green card in 1979, attended Le
Cordon Bleu in Paris and studied architecture
at the American University in Rome. But due
to certain legal issues in his distant past, he
was being deported after more than 30 years
here. Padilla paved the way for a habeas and
Chef Marcel is now awaiting his citizenship.
During lunch, I would have the value of
learning more about this wonderful justice
and how his philosophy evolved over the
years, while he would get to meet and eat his
ABBI S. TAYLOR / FOUNDER, THE LAW FIRM
OF ABBI S. TAYLOR; DECATUR; APPELLATE,
CRIMINAL DEFENSE, PERSONAL INJURY–
Justice Kagan to Fat
Matt’s Rib Shack.
I was a Supreme Court Fellow in 1987,
working for Chief Justice Rehnquist. There
were several law clerks that year whose
names you would recognize: Ron Klain, the
Ebola czar; Richard Cordray, who heads up
the Obama consumer affairs agency; and
Teresa Roseborough, general counsel for
Home Depot. Also Elena Kagan.
We played hoops in the gym above the
main courtroom at the Supreme Court—
called “the highest court in the land.” It
started as an all-guys event in which Justice
White used to participate; then Elena and
Teresa and some of the other female clerks
insisted on inclusion. It was good-natured.
But I remember once chasing a loose ball
and Elena came up on my right side—she’s
5-foot- 3, I’m 6-foot- 3—and I bumped into
her. She went sprawling but got up unfazed.
She’s the only Supreme Court justice I have
physically knocked down.
I would take her to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack.
She’s from New York City and I think she
needs to eat some barbecue.
ALBERT M. PEARSON III / FOUNDER,
ALBERT M. PEARSON LLC; ATLANTA; ADR,
PERSONAL INJURY–GENERAL: PLAINTIFF
Oliver Wendell Holmes
would be my choice.
Not just because of his brilliance or his
30 years on the court, but because of the
totality of his life experiences. I would first
ask him what it was like on the battlefield
during the Civil War, and whether he really
saved Abraham Lincoln’s life by telling him
to duck at the Battle of Fort Stevens. Then
I’d ask him what it was like to practice law in
Boston during the 1870s, and why he seemed
to prefer more scholarly pursuits to the day-to-day practice of law. Finally, I’d get around
to asking him about his work on the Supreme
Court. I’d ask him to reveal the case of which
he was most proud, and why, and whether
he regretted any of his decisions—including
Buck v. Bell, in which he wrote that it didn’t
violate due process for a state to permit
the compulsory sterilization of the unfit,
including the intellectually disabled.
Instead of lunch, I’d take him to the Waffle
House for breakfast—he might be more
talkative over grits and hash browns. (See:
The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table.) After
parting, I’d send him a letter thanking him
for his time, and hope with all my might that
he’d write back. How great would it be to get
a letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes?
AMY LEVIN WEIL / FOUNDER, THE WEIL
FIRM; ATLANTA; APPELLATE, CRIMINAL
DEFENSE, GENERAL LITIGATION
WHICH SUPREME COURT JUSTICE WOULD YOU
TAKE TO LUNCH? AND WHERE? AS TOLD TO ERIK LUNDEGAARD