Oral Argument Reenactment

Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950)

In June 2014, the Fellows presented the reenactment of the oral argument from Sweatt v. Painter. A standing-room-only crowd was on hand in the original Supreme Court Courtroom in the Capitol to watch as the Fellows held a live oral argument reenactment and discussion of Sweatt. Former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips gave an overview of the case before the reenactment and after the argument discussed the impacts of the case. Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright argued on behalf of Sweatt and the former Fort Worth Court of Appeals Justice David Keltner argued on behalf of the State.

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht presided with a panel that included Justice Paul Green, the Supreme Court’s liaison to the Society, and Judge Priscilla Owen of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. “It was clear that Wainwright and Keltner spent a great deal of time in getting ready for the reenactment, like they would for a real oral argument,” said Justice Green. He also added that “the audience noticed and appreciated the superb advocacy presented in the case.”


Johnson v. Darr, 272 S.W. 1098 (1925)

On June 16, 2016, the Fellows presented a reenactment of the oral argument from the landmark 1925 all-woman Supreme Court case in Johnson v. Darr. Fifth Circuit Judge Jennifer Elrod, Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann portrayed the three justices. Former Justice (ret.) David Keltner and former Society President Doug Alexander portrayed the El Paso attorneys who argued the case. They used archival copies of Johnson’s appellate record, original briefs, and contemporary correspondence provided by Texas Supreme Court Archivist Tiffany Shropshire Gilman and David Furlow to prepare for oral argument. For the reenactment, Special Chief Justice Ward’s descendant, civic activist Linda Hunsaker, lent the Society the original wooden gavel her ancestor used to call the All-Woman Court to order.

Texas v. White, 74 U.S.700 (1868)

In June 2012, led by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, a panel including Fifth Circuit Judge Jennifer Elrod, Southern District Judge Nancy Atlas, and Texas Supreme Court Justices Dale Wainwright and Paul Green heard argument in Texas v. White from Society Charter Fellow David Beck, representing the State of Texas, and former Society President Lynne Liberato, representing individuals challenging Texas’s status as a state. Following the spirited hearing, former Chief Justice Tom Phillips, as “Reporter for the Court,” announced that Texas had again won the case and should be considered a state in the Union following the Civil War.

Texas Appellate

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