Most of the time, we spout the wisdom of others. There is precedent, the wisdom of legal scholars, and the opinions of pundits, for example. However, every so often, rare as it might be, we actually have an original thought, one we believe to be wholly our own. That's the way we're beginning to feel about the West Pediment of the Supreme Court Building in Washington. The West Pediment sits atop what most people might call the public entrance. It's the sculpture above the front steps shown on your admission certificate; the one with images of all those people (including representations of Chief Justices Marshall, Taft and Hughes, the first two standing for "Research Past" and "Research Present", respectively.) Our proposed original thought for this morning, however, concerns the words below those pictures: "Equal Justice Under Law."
It was then Chief Judge Cardozo who said: "Not likely vacated is the verdict of quiescent years." (Coler v. Corn Exchange Bank, 250 NY 136 ) We have always loved that quote and had it taped to our fluorescent desk lamp throughout our years at Flatbush Law. The law is old, like fine port. We who love it, sip it gently, rolling it around our mouths with the respect it deserves. Sure, there are those times that we uncork an ancient principle only to find vinegar, but there are few of those bottles left. What remains then, is pure gold.