It’s refreshing to see somebody taking on James Shapiro. John Orloff, the screenwriter of “Anonymous,” does a commendable job of pointing out that Shapiro was extremely misleading (to say the least) in his description of the 1987 moot court involving three Supreme Court Justices. If Shapiro can’t even be trusted to report accurately about what happened a mere 23 years ago, how can he be trusted to accurately report on events that occurred four centuries ago? Here’s an excerpt from John Orloff’s opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times along with a link to the full article. Three cheers for Orloff! Matthew Cossolotto
The Shakespeare authorship question isn’t settled
And even if Shakespeare didn’t write all of the sonnets and plays attributed to him, the works’ centuries-old legacies would remain intact.
I was particularly fascinated by Shapiro’s claim that U.S. Supreme Court Justices William J. Brennan Jr., Harry Blackmun and John Paul Stevens ruled “unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford” in a 1987 moot court case.
Shapiro has, at best, oversimplified the facts.
In fact, Brennan, the senior justice on the case, did not rule on whether Shakespeare actually wrote the plays; he simply ruled that the Earl of Oxford did not meet the burden of proof required under the law.
Blackmun agreed, but then added, “That’s the legal answer. Whether it is the correct one causes me greater doubt” (emphasis mine).
Stevens went even further, saying: “I have lingering concerns. . . . You can’t help but have these gnawing doubts that this great author may perhaps have been someone else. . . . I would tend to draw the inference that the author of these plays was a nobleman. . . . There is a high probability that it was Edward de Vere [the Earl of Oxford].”
I would hardly characterize these as opinions “unanimously for Shakespeare and against the Earl of Oxford.”