James.jpg An update from James, a sophomore political science and philosophy major who is researching the shift in Supreme Court cases Poe v. Ullman (1961) and Griswold v. Connecticut (1965):

Today was the day everyone was looking forward to. After an early wakeup and a trip to Capital South, we took our tour of the Supreme Court building. I think the entire experience inside the Supreme Court could be summed up as magnificent. To add to the awesomeness of being inside, we were also lucky enough to have a private tour take us all around the building, to some places the public can’t even go.

My favorite part of the tour was when we went into the courtroom where oral arguments are heard. Our tour guide did a great job explaining all the different nuances of the room, including the seniority seating for the family members of the justices. Each room had a tremendous amount of intricacy and beauty; it is clear why it’s called the palace of justice.

To cap off the wonderful tour of the Supreme Court, I bought some great things in the gift shop for myself and others as gifts. I probably spent too much money, but I’m glad I bought the things I did, including a mug and legal pad (both with the Supreme Court seal).

After the tour it was back to work in the Library of Congress. I have made what I think is significant progress through the papers I needed to get through to advance my research and answer my research question. The days are long and the researching can be frustrating, especially when a file contains only draft opinions, but the experience is without a doubt worth it. This is not an experience I will soon forget.

I’m looking forward to what tomorrow will bring as our final full day of research; hopefully I get everything done that I need to!


As part of the political science seminar “Law, Politics and the Supreme Court,” students and Professor Joe Kobylka traveled to Washington, D.C., to conduct research on the papers of former Supreme Court Justices at the Library of Congress. Read their blog.