168th Commencement: Watch Live
E. Stewart Jones Jr. '66 and Jack Casey '87 represented opposing sides in a mock trial to determine the true author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” the popular Christmas poem that first ran in a Troy, N.Y., newspaper and is more popularly known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
The two attorneys argued their cases in front of a packed Rensselaer County Courthouse overseen by the Hon. Bud Malone '71, a retired state Supreme Court justice. Jones currently serves on the law school’s Board of Trustees, and Malone is a Trustee Emeriti.
Jack Casey’s daughter, Molly, class of 2012, served as his co-counsel.
“A Visit from St. Nicholas” was first published by the now-defunct Troy Sentinel in 1823, but no author was credited at the time. Clement Clarke Moore, a wealthy biblical scholar from Manhattan, has long been accepted as the author, but for nearly two centuries, the family of Henry Livingston Jr., a Hudson Valley gentleman farmer, has argued that their ancestor is the poem’s true writer.
Finally, the mock trial of Livingston v. Moore was intended to resolve any question of who wrote the iconic poem. However, despite compelling arguments from both sides, the trial ended with a hung jury.