Obiter Dicta

In a 2002 dissent, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin declared the majority’s reasoning faulty, but took special issue with its sad and etiolated presentation.

In the case before the bench, a man 30 years older than his teenage fiancé had promised her $3,500 a year if the marriage didn’t last. The marriage didn’t last, and when the ex-fiancé discovered that the stone in her engagement ring was fake, she sued her former husband for fraud. The majority ruled that the woman should not have trusted her fiancé and therefore hadn’t been defrauded.

Eakin disagreed. In fact, he disagreed so strongly that he had no choice but to resort to poetry. His dissent read, in part:

“A groom must expect matrimonial pandemonium

When his spouse finds he’s given her cubic zirconium.

Given their history and Pygmalion relation

I find her reliance was with justification.”

Some of his fellow justices took Eakin to task for this break from decorum, saying that it “reflects poorly on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania” and hurts their reputation when “an opinion of the court is reduced to rhyme.”

Eakin dissented on that too.

“You have an obligation as a judge to be right,” he told the New York Times. “But you have no obligation to be dull.”

Will Stoycos graduated from Country Day in 1981 and he and his wife, Melanie, send their two boys to school here too. Alex is in preschool and his big brother Noah is in third grade.

After graduating, Stoycos went on to study at Wake Forest and earned his J.D. from William & Mary. He has practiced law since the early 90s and now serves as senior deputy in the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

Standing on the stage to introduce his friend, Stoycos waxed effusive about Country Day, matter-of-factly declaring that he was “here for one reason: I love this place.

“I sat in the seats where you’re sitting 30 years ago,” he continued. “It is actually kind of scary that the seats haven’t changed.”

Furniture timewarp notwithstanding, Stoycos said that, “Everything [he] accomplished could be traced back to this place and I love the school for what it gave to me.”

In that spirit of giving, Stoycos wrangled Eakin, one of seven justices on the state’s high court, to talk to the Upper School about life, law and the importance of taking chances.

“When I started out as a lawyer, I had no ambition to be a Supreme Court justice, but the opportunity came along,” Eakin said. “If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to take a shot. If something comes up, whether you had it in mind and it was part of the plan or not, take a shot.

“If I tried but didn’t make it, I could feel OK with that,” Eakin continued. “But if I had to look back and think, ‘I could have done that but I was too scared,’ I wouldn’t be OK with that.

“It’s good to have a plan. But being scared is never a reason not to take a chance.”

Croquet Wonderland

The sky was a brilliant blue over Saturday’s Homecoming Croquet Tournament, and that bright October sun played right into Paul Bostock’s master plan for victory. The Latin teacher had opted for footwear painted with psychedelic swirls of red, yellow and green, like bowling shoes from the Lewis Carroll Collection. “They’re to distract the opposition, and it’s working,” he proclaimed. “They’re cosmic.”

Alas, his intergalactic kicks and his son, Tristan ’04, did indeed help Team Bostock reach the finals, but the 2012 title went to last year’s winners: the duo of Bob Porter ’89 and Keith Miles.


Head of School Steve Lisk teamed up with Honorary Trustee Sally Jarvis, and the two of them had a nice showing, though it was clear watching Sally work that she was doing the team’s heavy lifting. “She’s carrying me,” Lisk admitted. “We’ve just gotten lucky,” Sally said with characteristic modesty.

Thanks to the work and dedication of Alumni Director Libby Roman ’05 and Middle School English teachers Phil Lisi ’91 and Genevieve Munson and the students in their Middle School Croquet Club, who turned out en masse, everyone attending Saturday’s tournament could go home feeling lucky.