"Advice From Oldest Supreme Court Justice" - - by Rev. Weldon Bares

September 21, 2017

 

     Here is a good trivia question. Who was the oldest person to ever sit on the Supreme Court of our country? The answer is Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. He was often called “The Great Dissenter.” He served on the Supreme Court from 1902 to 1932. He died in 1935 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


    Shortly after President Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated, he went to visit Holmes after his retirement, on the occasion of his 92nd birthday. He found Judge Holmes reading Plato and asked him, “Why do you read Plato, Mr. Justice?” The former Chief Justice  answered, “To improve my mind, Mr. President.”


    Holmes gave an interview to a national network a few months before he passed away in 1935. In the interview he quoted his own translation from a poem that was written in the middle ages.


    He said, “I end with a line from a Latin poet who uttered the message more than fifteen hundred years ago: ‘Death plucks my ear and says, Live - I am coming.’”


    The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes affirms: “Everyone will die someday. Death comes to godly and sinful people alike. It comes to good and bad people alike.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2) 


    Pretty profound words. “Death plucks my ear and says, Live - I am coming.” That was good advice for Justice Holmes and also, perhaps, for us.
 

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