Monthly Archives: March 2013

Meeting heroes of the Movement

An update from Ana Sophia, a senior human rights major with a minor in French: The Civil Rights pilgrimage has proved to be a beautiful trip that not only tells, but also brings to life American history. It is surprising to discover how many important facts are untold in American history about the Civil Rights Movement that I learned in Dr. Simon's Civil Rights course. Furthermore, it is astonishing to discover how much more there is to these stories and events once you experience visiting certain sites, and especially, meeting various Civil Rights heroes. This trip provides an invaluable opportunity for students to meet the heroes of a Movement that took place not long ago. It is an honor and a [...]

2013-03-15T16:32:57+00:00 March 14th, 2013|SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2013|

Day 6: Montgomery/Tuskegee

An update from Hayley, a junior majoring in anthropology, French and human rights: Our first stop this morning was the Rosa Parks museum, and I really enjoyed the experience. I was a bit hesitant at first because I have been to some strange “interactive” museums, but this one truly captured the spirit of the Montgomery bus boycott. Watching the re-enactment of Rosa Parks’ arrest made me picture being surrounded by a mob of jeering and rude faces. Her stoicism and courage in this moment was reflected in the film, and her sense of unwavering calm was inspiring. After the museum, Sorsha, Erin, Yusra, and I visited the Alabama state capitol as well as the Supreme Court building. The capitol was [...]

2013-03-21T21:21:14+00:00 March 14th, 2013|SMU Civil Rights Pilgrimage 2013|

Connecting with Justice Black

An update from Jacqueline, a junior majoring in political science and psychology who is conducting research on Justice Black's views on expression and the First Amendment: After catching a 6 a.m. flight, navigating the metro, and gallivanting around the Library of Congress, I’ve learned that this Spring Break will be unlike any other. We have the unbelievable opportunity to research the Supreme Court justices. And I’m not talking about glancing at textbooks or the Internet – this is the real deal. We get to hold in our hands the actual handwritten memos and private conference notes that circulated among the justices. Supreme Court lovin' Each morning I eat a scrumptious breakfast of fruit loops and Comfort Inn waffles. [...]

2013-03-14T16:45:56+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

There and back again: A tale from the LOC

An update from Hannah, a political science and Spanish major who is conducting research on the Supreme Court's change in commerce clause jurisprudence since 1937: Well, friends, here I am again, back in the Library of Congress to spend my spring break reading through the justices’ papers – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So far the trip has been just as amazing as the one two years ago. Our schedule is essentially the same as last time – 8:30 to 5 in the library poring over papers and then relaxing and preparing for the next day in the evenings. While going on the trip a second time might sound redundant, it has truly been a new experience [...]

2013-03-14T16:54:20+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

An intellectual feast

An update from Austin, a sophomore majoring in economics, public policy and political science, with a minor in law and legal reasoning, who is conducting research on the differing “absolutisms” of Justice Black and Justice Douglas’ First Amendment Freedom of Expression jurisprudence: When asked why he wanted to serve on the Supreme Court, Robert Bork responded, “it would be an intellectual feast.” This nicely sums up why my classmates and I have decided to engage in scholarly research over Spring Break. I have had Dr. Kobylka every semester I have been in college – which is a testament either to his greatness or my insanity. When this opportunity presented itself, I never had to second-guess forgoing Spring Break to partake [...]

2013-03-14T16:47:17+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Homecoming with a mission

An update from Julianna, a sophomore majoring in business who is conducting research on the exclusionary rule: We’ve just finished up our third day on The Hill and I can’t believe it’s Wednesday night already! After our 6:30 a.m., Monday morning flight out of DFW, our class touched down in Washington DC at about 9:30 a.m. local time. There we were, the 13 of us plus Kobylka, loitering in the Reagan International Airport terminal disoriented, excited, groggy, and in much need of caffeine. I stepped off that plane and was immediately smacked in the face with sweet, sweet nostalgia. This was welcoming. This was familiarity. This was home. In December of 2012, my family and I packed up our home [...]

2013-03-15T15:47:35+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Living and learning

An update from Taylor, a sophomore majoring in political science and Spanish who is conducting research on school prayer decisions during the 1980s and early 1990s: I can’t believe that we’ve already been in D.C. for two days and I’m just now getting a free moment to blog about all the things that have happened so far. Right now, I’m waiting for my next batch of justice papers to be wheeled out on their carts in the Madison building (I know it sounds strange, but the Manuscript Reading Room at the Library of Congress has a lot of rules to preserve the collections so future researchers can study the documents). When the papers get here, I’ll go back to reading Harry [...]

2013-03-15T15:59:59+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

The humans behind the law

An update from Michael, a junior majoring in philosophy and political science: As I skimmed through Justice Robert H. Jackson’s documents in the Library of Congress, I found the interactions between Justice Jackson and Justice Black particularly pertinent to my own research, but also challenging many of the preconceptions that I, and many Americans, share about the nature of the law and the Supreme Court. Black and Jackson came to blows with one another over Black’s refusal to recuse himself in a case concerning a miners’ labor union. As it goes, Black had worked with the lead attorney for the miners’ union in a law practice when Black was still in Alabama, and had also worked with him when Black was [...]

2013-03-14T16:25:35+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Running with the best of them

An update from Alexander, a sophomore psychology and political science major: As we left our second day at the Library of Congress, I was overcome with the most surreal feeling. I felt like a graduate student, as if I were some sort of imposter in the scholarly world of research, journal articles and book writing, and far away from my simple undergraduate problems. Then it fully dawned on me that I had spent the day searching through 50-year-old Supreme Court Justice papers to answer a question I’d spent the past two months designing. This was, is, legitimate research. Here we are in the thick of it all, running with the best of them. Everything has been nonstop since our early "before [...]

2013-03-14T15:53:04+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Opening boxes and diving into history

An update from Eric, a sophomore majoring in political science and public policy who is conducting research on Justice Blackmun's Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: How can you trade a week of relaxation and sun for six long days of research? This question has been something I’ve had to answer all semester. Of course, the answer is simple, "How could you pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study from the personal papers of Supreme Court Justices?” Leading up to this week in the capital, I had no idea what to expect. Sure I had a general idea of what the paper would entail, but it wasn’t until I opened that first box and dove right into Justice Blackmun’s cases dealing with the 4th Amendment, [...]

2013-03-14T15:34:40+00:00 March 13th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|
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