The justices logged 174 events in the 2016 calendar year, seven of which took place in December.
The Supreme Court justices had a light extracurricular schedule this December – with the exception of Justice Stephen Breyer, who remained active on the speaking circuit.
On December 1, Breyer participated in an INFO Salon for the Institute for Education, sharing the stage with U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. Breyer spoke about the themes of his latest book, “The Court and the World,” asserting that “if I don’t know something about what’s happening abroad, I can’t do my job.” The Institute for Education posted a summary of the event on its website. Hollywood on The Potomac has clips of Breyer’s talk on its YouTube page.
Breyer traveled to the Lone Star state in mid-December, where he headlined two World Affairs Council events – one in Fort Worth on December 12, and one in Dallas on December 13. Coverage of the Fort Worth program comes from the Star-Telegram. According to the newspaper, Breyer had this advice for the future ninth member of the court: “Calm down. It’s a job where every day you have to do your absolute best.”
Breyer then brought his message about globalization to the University of Texas at Arlington, encouraging students to “protect our American values” by learning about what is happening in other parts of the world. The Shorthorn covered his speech, which was part of the university’s Maverick Speakers Series.
Back on the East Coast, Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the Aspen Institute’s Preston Robert Tisch Award in Civic Leadership in a December 9 ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The following week, Sotomayor was in Washington to deliver remarks at the December 14 naming ceremony for three submarines owned by the United States Navy. The justice has connections to all three namesakes: One submarine was named the USS Columbia for Washington, D.C.; another, the USNS Puerto Rico; and the third, the USNS Earl Warren. The Georgetowner has a recap of the festivities.
On December 12, Justice Samuel Alito presided over the Shakespeare Theatre Company Bard Association’s fall mock trial. Andrew Hamm covered the proceedings, a wrongful death suit based on the events of “Romeo and Juliet,” for SCOTUSblog. Video of the mock trial will be broadcast on C-SPAN on December 25 – essential holiday viewing for Supreme Court and Shakespeare aficionados alike.