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Father Chief Justice

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Uploaded on Sep 22, 2011

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 presented 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 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.

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