Supreme Court Spring2011

As part of the political science course “Law, Politics and the Supreme Court,” students and Political Science Associate Professor Joe Kobylka are spending spring break 2011 in Washington, D.C. The students are conducting research on Supreme Court cases at the Library of Congress.

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Final reflections: Part 2

Kevin.jpg An update from Kevin, a junior majoring in political science, economics and public policy who is investigating the roots of the Rehnquist Court’s federalism revolution on questions of Congress’ commerce power and sovereign immunity claims under the Eleventh Amendment:

For those of you consistenly following this blog, it seems that I have misled you into believing that my last blog was indeed my final entry. But, since we are now back at SMU, I think it is appropriate to write a summary of our fabulous time in D.C. in the hopes that some of you reading this might be encouraged to take part in this trip should it be offered at some point in the future.

The trip began with a simple phone call from Prof. Kobylka to me. “Little Robin, this is Big Bird,” he said. And it ended with April going up to the front of our American Airlines MD-80 plane and congratulating the same Big Bird on his run streak over the plane’s intercom. The events of the week turned a group of 12 students and one professor into much more than a class. We became a family.

We met great people along the way including Jeff, the Head Librarian in the Manuscript Reading Room at the Library of Congress, and Professor Wermiel. Their valuable insight helped turn us from 12 nerdy kids into 12 budding scholars of constitutional law.

But, as many have noted, none of this would have been possible except for the constant support and tutelage of Professor Kobylka. His guidance never waned during our time in the Library of Congress, and both our understanding of the material that we encountered in the Justices’ files and our papers will be the beneficiaries of his guidance. In addition, it goes without saying that all of us owe a tremendous amount of thanks to the Honors Program and to the Richter Foundation. Without the support of these two groups, none of this would have been possible.

I consider myself very lucky to have been a part of this research trip. (And not just because I was fortunate enough to get the Library of Congress 20 percent staff discount at lunch each day.) It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I will never forget it.

This is Little Robin, signing off!

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