Monday, June 28, 2004

Dodgy theories and evasive maneuvers

Today the summer associates took a field trip to the Supreme Court. We heard the judgments in Hamdi, Padilla, Rasul, Patane, and Seibert. I confess to being most interested in the two Miranda-related opinions (despite my disappointing performance in Advanced Crim Pro, I maintain an interest in the subject matter - atypical for someone who normally gives up on things she's no good at). Justice Thomas was the only one willing to go along with the government's line in Hamdi, but in the cab on the way back I was still treated to the old saw about Thomas being Scalia's lapdog. In this instance, one of my colleagues sniffed that he probably wrote a confused opinion, since he usually just goes along with what Scalia says. Bah.

We also were told that we'd meet one of the justices. I had envisioned something a little more personal and intimate than what occurred (a Q&A session in a conference room along with another 20 summers from a different firm) and also something a little more informative. The justice couldn't comment on any matter that might come up before them in future cases, wouldn't disclose any juicy Court gossip (Closed Chambers is "nothing like the Court I know," the Justice says. they all get along peachily and sing kumbaya), and was a bit vague when it came to substantive questions. Anything specifically about a case produced an instruction to read an opinion. The Justice thinks the greatest challenge facing young lawyers today is balancing work and home life (how stale). When someone asked what would be the most lasting decision of this Court in the civil rights arena, the Justice dodged the question. We walked out having learned nothing except that the summers from the other firm prepped themselves with much more showy questions about cases. It was less exciting than one could have hoped for.
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