So Thursday and Friday were busy – Thursday was the unveiling of the portraits of Justices Dana and Calkins at the SJC, followed by the Red Mass, and Friday was a symposium on expanding justice over at the Abromson Center at USM.
The unveiling had all the Justices there except for Justice Gorman, along with a variety of speakers, from Governor King and Judge Lipez to ex-clerk to Justice Calkins and ex-Pierce Atwood-ite Brian O'Donnell, now a Catholic priest in Vermont. (He's not the only ex-PAt to go on to a higher calling – Michael Ambler became an Episcopalian minister, and Doug Erdmann is now in Singapore serving with the Navigators).
Speaking of God, the Red Mass was fine – a nice way to spend an autumn afternoon, followed by a speech from CJ Woodcock on a very timely subject, the separation of Church and State.
The symposium was an excellent, interesting (and cheap) way to garner CLEs on a topic that we should all be thinking about more. This had some excellent speakers (including the always eloquent Justice Levy), as well as Justice Dana leading a panel on the history of pro bono in Maine. (He was about as good as a panel moderator can be – pithy, keeping people on time and very funny. When a speaker was noting a group called "We Who Care," Justice Dana observed that at that point in time he was busy representing "We Who Don't.")
Most of the Justices were in attendance, along with federal judges and one of my favorite people, Judge Coffin a/k/a Yoda. I attended a breakout session on affordable housing, which, aside from sharing some scary statistics, had some very good speakers who shared a lot of information (and not the type you usually hear in CLEs) in a short amount of time.
If I were a fabulous writer or had more time, I'd pull all these events together with some overarching theme (service seems pretty obvious, particularly given Justices Dana's and Calkins' longstanding and expansive devotion to public service and pro bono efforts). But at the expense of being deemed an old coot (can females be coots? if not, what's the female counterpart? I'm going to miss WIlliam Safire), I'll just make one observation. I don't understand why more lawyers don't go to these things.
On the Red Mass front, yes, I get why some people (including me) are not thrilled with what some people in the diocese may be doing on the political front, but if I took my marbles and walked away everytime somebody in the Church did something I didn't like, I'd do a lot of huffy exiting (for instance, maybe it's just me, but I think that whole Spanish Inquisition thing was a bad idea). God may be perfect, but we are not, and that imperfection doesn't mean that it's not still nice to go to Mass, sing America the Beautiful and reflect upon some universal truths on which we can all agree, and that do seem to be a common theme to these events – that justice involves some forgiving, and some mercy, and thinking about what we can do for those less fortunate than we are.