Recently, I was given an opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for the week of October 8th. When I checked the schedule I was thrilled to learn that the United States Supreme Court WOULD be hearing oral arguments while I was there.
I had last visited the Supreme Court in 1983, when I was a college senior doing an internship in D.C. After becoming a lawyer, I tried several times to get back to the Court to hear an oral argument, but it was never in session during the weeks that I was visiting.
Members of the general public can get into the Court to see an oral argument, but the best seats are reserved for members of the bar. So, I applied for a spot, and on October 2nd (just a few days before I left on my trip) I got a letter from the Supreme Court of the United States confirming that I would be a member of the Court.
Meanwhile, President Trump had nominated Brett Kavanaugh to fill the position left by Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement. We all know the story of what happened next! As luck would have it, Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed and sworn in on the weekend that I was headed to D.C.
Since Monday was Columbus Day, the Court was closed, but on Tuesday morning, October 9th, I lined up at 7 a.m. to get a seat in the section of the Supreme Court reserved for members of the bar. At 10 a.m., the Court was called to order and I got to see Justice Kavanaugh take the bench for his first day on the Court. As an added bonus, Justice Kennedy was in the audience with us, watching the Court he had been a part of for the previous 30 years. Certainly a historic moment for the Court, and for those of us who were lucky enough to be in the audience.
Obviously, neither the press nor the protesters were allowed inside the courtroom to watch the oral argument, but both were outside the Court when we filed out after the arguments concluded. All were exercising the civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution that the Court is sworn to uphold. A true picture of our democracy at work, and one I am happy to share.