Annual Meeting features dramatic duel as justices reenact
It’s not often that California’s Supreme Court justices can
be seen dueling with pistols at dawn. But the State
Bar’s Annual Meeting Sept. 11-14 in San Diego will feature colorful
performances from the justices – all in the name of theater and history.
An early morning drama launches the Friday Sept. 12 schedule
promptly at 8 a.m. with, “Chief Justice David S. Terry and Federalism: A Life and a Doctrine in Three Acts,” a re-enactment
of the historical events that surrounded former California Chief Justice
David S. Terry, including the 1859
duel that led to the death of his rival, U.S. Sen. David Colbreth Broderick.
Terry was notorious for his fierce temper and violent outburts
towards his political rivals. Not only did he kill Broderick, but Terry stabbed
another man with a Bowie knife a few months before the duel. After Broderick’s
death, Terry assaulted a U.S. Supreme Court justice, an attack that later led
to Terry’s fatal shooting by the justice’s bodyguard.
The play also explores Terry’s tumultuous representation and
later marriage to Sarah Althea Hill, an equally controversial figure in
Script author Dr. Richard H. Rahm called Terry "perhaps California’s most colorful member of the judiciary." The re-enactment explores the relationship between individual states and federal government after the birth of the republic. "We explore the very concrete ways federalism affected Terry both before and after the Civil War," Rahm said.
Present-day members of the state Supreme Court will be on
hand to discuss not only the legal issues at play in Terry’s life, but as
members of the cast.
The playbill features Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Associate
Justice Marvin R. Baxter, Associate Justice Ming Chin, Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan, Associate Justice Goodwin Liu and U. S. District Court
Judge Larry A. Burns.
The drama will be narrated by State Bar CEO Joseph L. Dunn and Rahm, who is also a member
of the board of directors of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District
of California Historical Society. The event includes 1.25 hours of minimum
continuing legal education credit.
Attendance is limited to those who pre-register for the
Annual Meeting by Aug. 13. Attendees are urged to come to the breakfast
event as early as 7:15 a.m. For a list of other special events and continuing
legal education sessions, see the Annual