A Supreme and Heroic Mock Trial
Posted at 2:51 p.m. on May 1, 2012
The funniest, most entertaining event in Washington this past week wasn’t held at the Hilton.
It was a divorce trial presided over by six justices, including Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan, and tried by two of the toughest lawyers in town.
(Courtesy Shakespeare Theatre Company)
At issue was whether a young woman would be awarded alimony, the nature of young love and fidelity, the definition of a dowry and the fiery dissolution of the marriage between Claudio and Hero, the less interesting couple in William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Sanford Ain, named the top divorce lawyer in Washington by Washingtonian magazine in 2009, was counsel for Hero, the young, wealthy bride seeking alimony and redress.
Sanford Ain pleads Hero's case in front of the panel of justices. (Courtesy Shakespeare Theatre Company)
Ain, regarded as the city’s fifth-best lawyer overall by the magazine, generally bills about $760 for an hour of his time.
Reid Weingarten defends Count Claudio in front of the justices. (Courtesy Shakespeare Theatre Company)
Reid Weingarten, who was named the ninth-best lawyer in D.C. on the same list, was lead counsel for Count Claudio, the scallywag Hero married.
For those who find verbal sparring to be more entertaining than anything else, the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Harman Center for the Arts was the place to be Monday.
Some of the nation’s sharpest legal minds locked horns, matched wits and exchanged current affairs zingers that touched on everything from the Kardashians, the health care reform bill, Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise, the General Services Administration and Secret Service scandals, the tax rate of the wealthy vs. the less wealthy, etc.
For all the verbal, and legal, jousting happening, it was a little sad that Benedick and Beatrice, the other, more hilarious couple in “Much Ado About Nothing,” were little featured.
Kagan, for one, felt their absence deeply.
“What are we doing sitting here talking about Claudio and Hero?” Kagan griped to us while laughing after the trial.
We couldn’t agree more. Why weren’t they talking about Beatrice — whom Kagan calls “maybe one of the funniest women ever?”
Even without Shakespeare’s wittiest couple, the panel of justices and the attorneys had a blast.
Is the vibe similar to that of the Supreme Court?
“No,” Kagan said.