Milner S. Ball

Publication Date


Document Type

Special Contribution


Mercer Law School generously invited me to attend the 1992 Carl Vinson Lecture with its accompanying festivities and to submit a brief, responsive impression of the occasion. I was delighted to accept. The Vinson series has a distinguished history suitably advanced by this year's lecturers.

For the event, Stanley Fish and Stanley Hauerwas were furnished with comfortable-looking easy chairs in stage center of the law school's moot courtroom. After each had presented his opening remarks, they settled in for a late afternoon's extended conversation. The audience was to ask questions, but the two gentlemen of Durham required no external stimuli. They had plenty to say to each other and left openings for only three questions, maybe four.

They gave a good show. The talk between them was robust, instructive, often funny. The central performance was of argument. Perhaps courtrooms, especially moot courtrooms, their, wood panelling and furniture seasoned with disputation, naturally draw colleagues into disagreement, even when they are friends and vote the same way on most issues, even when they occupy soft chairs that have been turned away from the great oak bench and angled toward each other and the audience.