Shakespeare Debate Splits Supreme Court
Stevens finds alternate author theory beyond a reasonable doubt
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 18, 2009 8:08 AM CDT
A newly discovered portrait of William Shakespeare is seen in central London, March 9, 2009. The portrait is believed to be almost the only authentic image of the writer made from life.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(Newser) – John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia don’t agree often, but the justices are united on one case: Neither believes Shakespeare’s plays could possibly have been written by a hick like William Shakespeare. Stevens has even written papers on the topic, and searched the Bard’s home for clues. “The evidence…is beyond reasonable doubt,” he tells the Wall Street Journal. But his theory—that Edward de Vere, the 17th earl of Oxford, penned the plays—isn’t a popular one.

“I’m not impressed with the Oxfordian theory,” says Anthony Kennedy, who, together with Stephen Breyer, believes in the guy from Stratford. No other justice would rule on the case, so the Journal turned to retired justice—and frequent swing vote—Sandra Day O’Connor. “I’m not going to jump into this and be decisive,” she said, but when pressed added, “It might well have been someone other than our Stratford man.”

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Showing 3 of 3 comments
Apr 18, 2009 6:30 AM CDT
Yeah, has Susan Boyle taught us nothing? :-)
Apr 18, 2009 4:28 AM CDT
Hmm... That is a good point. I do like the fact that they sit around discussing this stuff! I think it is wholly possible that a "hick like William Shakespeare" could write such plays. He might have been a "commoner", but his father was considerably wealthy. (I think he was actually both a glove maker and merchant.) And also, Shakespeare was educated, having read the plays of Seneca and co. I find it offensive that they apparently believe that a bumpkin could not learn to speak eloquently.
Apr 18, 2009 2:00 AM CDT
"Much ado about nothing"