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Live Tweeting the Wickersham Award Ceremony

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I was fortunate to spend Monday afternoon at the Wickersham Award Ceremony.  My primary focus while there was to live tweet the event for the Law Library of Congress.  I also posted a few pictures to our Facebook page.  For the event, I used the hashtag #Wickersham to make it easier for others to follow along.  As you can see in the photo, I’m tweeting away while everyone is applauding the Honorable Justice John Paul Stevens receiving the award.  At that moment, I tweeted:

Justice Stevens graciously accepts the 2011 #Wickersham Award.

Going back through the tweets provides a nice timeline of the events:

Library of Congress Photos/ Abby Brack
  • Today’s the big day! It’s the 2011 #Wickersham Award Ceremony.
  • Guests are starting to arrive for the reception for the 15th #Wickersham Award Ceremony.
  • The view outside the 15th #Wickersham Award Ceremony:
  • The #Wickersham reception has started!
  • The Honorable Justice John Paul Stevens has arrived. #Wickersham
  • Roberta Shaffer, the Law Librarian of Congress, is welcoming everyone. #Wickersham (#ICLblog Interview w/Ro )
  • Roberta is introducing Charles Verrill, the president of The Friends of the Law Library of Congress. #Wickersham
  • The Friends of the Law Library of Congress President, Charles Verrill, is discussing the Blackstone Award. #Wickersham
  • Congrats to William (Bill) C. Burton! He is this year’s Blackstone Award Honoree. #Wickersham
  • Bill C. Burton is giving his acceptance speech. #Wickersham
  • In his acceptance speech, Bill Burton thanked the Law Library staff. He discussed his awards program in legal writing. #Wickersham
  • A Tribute to Burton’s Thesaurus is on display: #Wickersham
  • Burton discussed the need for plain English in legal writing. #Wickersham
  • A photo of the Opperman acquisition, Casus breves & in our catalog: #Wickersham
  • Roberta announced the Opperman acquisition. Read more about the rare book added to our collection: #Wickersham [Kurt also blogged about the book yesterday.]
  • Roberta recognized Robert Dizard, Deanna Marcum and Elizabeth Pugh for their support of the Law Library of Congress. #Wickersham
  • The Honorable Justice John Paul Stevens is being introduced. #Wickersham
  • Justice Stevens graciously accepts the 2011 #Wickersham Award.
  • Roberta is introducing PBS Newshour’s Gwen Ifill (@pbsgwen) who will interview the Honorable Justice John Paul Stevens. #Wickersham
  • Justice Stevens is writing a book about working with five previous chief justices. #Wickersham
  • Stevens – Only one case I would have decided differently was a Texas death penalty case, should have held it unconstitutional. #Wickersham
  • Justice Stevens on campaign finance: money is not the same as speech itself. #Wickersham
  • Stevens on Bush v. Gore – “It was an unusual case.” #Wickersham
  • Stevens said that on a personal basis, the justices get along with each other perfectly. #Wickersham
  • Justice John Paul Stevens: “The most important asset a lawyer has is his own integrity.” #Wickersham
  • And with Roberta’s closing remarks, that concludes the 2011 #Wickersham Award Ceremony.

Trying to listen, take notes, and tweet was a fun challenge.  There were a couple of other items I didn’t get a chance to tweet about.

The first question Gwen Ifill asked Justice Stevens was the key to his longevity on the bench, to which he replied that you should marry a wonderful dietitian! When asked how the Supreme Court had changed, Justice Stevens said that a new justice always has an impact on how the court decides cases.

Gwen Ifill also asked if his thoughts on affirmative action have changed.  He said there  are several distinctions. Early on, judges were deciding whether it was an appropriate remedy for a past wrong doing.  He said that this was the wrong approach and that people should look at what can be gained by a diverse program.  Gwen summarized his point as being the distinction between making reparations and fixing what comes next.

Justice Stevens does still play tennis.  He said he is very grateful that his partner, a good friend, has an unmentioned approach of always hitting the ball to him (while he can make his partner run).

After the event was over, Gwen Ifill sat down again with Justice Stevens for more questions. The interview later aired on PBS NewsHour.

Update: The event video was added below.

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