[Posted November 30, 2015] Here’s an opportunity to step back a bit from case analyses and court news, for a little something fun. I’ve mentioned recently my trip to Washington to attend the Appellate Judges’ Education Institute (better known as the ABA Appellate Summit) earlier this month. One of the highlights of that weekend for me was getting a small-group tour at the Law Library of Congress, and a chance to see some fascinating rare books related to the law.

The library’s staff asked those of us on the tour to pose for a group photo, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it just now on the library’s blog. Here’s a link to a blog post about the visit; you can click on the picture to get a closer view.

You may recognize the tall guy with the goatee and the green tie in the center of the picture. The two men in front of me are (left to right from your perspective) my friends Howard Bashman, the publisher of the popular appellate website How Appealing, and David Perlman, the Publications Chair of the Council of Appellate Lawyers. That makes him the only guy in the world who gets to edit my writing. (I occasionally submit articles for CAL’s publication, Appellate Issues.)

Just behind David’s left shoulder is Judge Joe Pierron of the Kansas Court of Appeals, the master craftsman behind the famous “Kansas Three-Pony Rule” in domestic-relations cases. Judge Pierron and I spoke at length on the bus ride over to the library, where he told me the fascinating story of his decision to turn some legal lore into a formal judicial opinion, In re Patterson from 1996. The next-to-last man on the right is Judge Ronald Lee Gilman of the US Sixth Circuit.

I also want to acknowledge the two men who gave us a terrific presentation to show off some very cool books. Three heads to the left of mine is a man with a purplish tie; that’s Rare Book Curator Nathan Dorn. Three more to his left is Senior Legal Information Analyst Jim Martin, who’s looking off to the side. I found myself slightly envious of these guys, who get to play every day with stuff I could only dream about.

There’s one last person who deserves mention, but she’s not in the picture, because I think she was the photographer: Liah Caravalho is a program specialist at the library, and handled the trying task of getting a bunch of independent-minded judges and lawyers to follow instructions, so we didn’t get lost and didn’t get left behind.

If you’ve been museum-hopping in DC but haven’t stopped in at the Library of Congress, I highly recommend it for your next trip. Get one of the free tours if you can; it’ll help you to appreciate things like the architectural innovations and the history of the facility. You’ll also get to see some of the books that Thomas Jefferson famously sent to the library to replenish the collection after those Redcoat scoundrels burned it in 1814.