For the Aug. 7 article on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, “No Man Is an Island,” Slate.com’s Dahlia Lithwick set the scene of his speech in Honolulu to the American Bar Association.
There is something about Waikiki that can render the 5,000 lawyers swarming this town for the American Bar Association convention disinclined to think. The convention center, the streets and what seems like every hotel in town are overrun with them, lugging around their bright yellow beach bags and their ubiquitous LexisNexis name tags. (Pity the Honolulu drivers whose chances of running down an attorney have skyrocketed to about 1-in-3 this week.)
Seemingly simple decisions, decisions attorneys make in 30 seconds if they’re on the clock, may consume 15 minutes in Hawai‘i. I listen to them debating—the snapper or the ‘ahi, change before mai tais on the beach or after, attend the 11:30 panel on innovations in forensic accounting or flip over and tan the backs of their thighs—and I listen to the long pauses in between. In Waikiki, the billable hour stretches long and languid. Beach books replace case files. Deep thoughts are few and far between. …
The conference organizers seem to have contracted this same aloha spirit of timelessness. Instead of the obligatory six minutes of musical prelude, we are treated to a gorgeous 45 minutes of song and dance from students at Kamehameha High School. Each song lasts seven minutes. The dancers’ hands convey opuses, yet no one checks their watch.