McDonald v. Chicago and Gilbert & Sullivan: The hidden connection!

In March 1994, I was in the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society‘s production of Gilbert & Sullivan‘s operetta Patience.

You can find a list of the Society’s past shows here; I was also in the same show the next time they produced it, in April 2007. Also, you can find the libretto of the show here.

In the March 1994 production, I played the character of the Major, which is perhaps the smallest part among the male principals. But hey, at least it was a principal.

Who was in the show with me? In the male chorus, playing one of the Heavy Dragoons, was Alan Gura, who represented Heller in D.C. v. Heller, and who’s counsel of record in McDonald v. Chicago, as you can see from the front page of the brief.

Who else was in the show with me? Why, playing the character of the Duke was none other than David Sigale, also McDonald’s lawyer listed on the front page of the brief.

Who else was in the show with me? This isn’t strictly speaking related to the McDonald case, but the character I married in the show, one “Angela,” was played by Alan Gura’s law partner, Laura Possessky.

Have Gilbert & Sullivan otherwise influenced the McDonald case? Well, p. 7 of the brief (p. 25 of the PDF) says that “The Privileges or Immunities Clause was all but erased from the Constitution in The SlaughterHouse Cases.” And, on the next page, it says that “SlaughterHouse‘s illegitimacy has long been all-but-universally understood.”

All but!

Surely, this is an echo of the sextet in Patience (see p. 19 of the libretto, i.e. p. 22 of the PDF, here), which I sang together with one of McDonald’s lawyers and the other lawyer’s law partner: “The pain that is all but a pleasure will change / For the pleasure that’s all but pain, / And never, oh never, this heart will range / From that old, old love again!” And MAIDENS embrace OFFICERS. Awww!

Or (see p. 28 of the libretto / p. 31 of the PDF), says Angela, commenting on the Major and the Duke: “Not supremely, perhaps, but oh, so all-but! (To SAPHIR.) Oh, Saphir, are they not quite too all-but?”

Perhaps Gilbert and Sullivan’s influence on the law now extends further than Iolanthe and Trial by Jury!

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