Political Science in Washington, 2013

As part of the University Honors Program political science course “Law, Politics and the Supreme Court,” students and Political Science Associate Professor Joe Kobylka are spending spring break 2013 in Washington, D.C. The students are conducting research on Supreme Court cases at the Library of Congress.

Read more from Political Science in Washington, 2013

Like coming home again

An update from Brandon B., a third-year political science, history and English major who is conducting research on “swing Justices” on the Court:

As I got off the plane at Washington Reagan National Airport, hopped on the DC Metro Orange Line, unpacked my bags at the Ballston Comfort Inn, all I could think was, “It’s just like coming home again.” Of course I’m not actually from this area, and I’ve only been to Washington, D.C., once, but going through all the procedures and preparations for this seminar once again certainly felt familiar to me.

My experience on this trip is unique compared to most other students in that it’s my second time participating in Professor Kobylka’s Supreme Court seminar. While some might suggest that enrolling again shows I’m some kind of glutton for punishment, I think it’s actually a testament to how amazing the trip was the first time around, and how fortunate I am that I can return thanks to my SMU Tower Center Fellowship as well as the generous funding of the Richter Fellowship program.

Getting back into the swing of research at the Library of Congress didn’t quite come as easily as I might have expected (it took about 30 minutes for me to realize that the box of papers I was searching through was actually the wrong one), but once I settled into a routine I moved at a pretty rapid pace. This time around, I really don’t have much room for error: I have over 30 Supreme Court cases I want to analyze in depth while I’m here. The task might be a bit too ambitious, but whereas most of my peers have just this semester to complete their research, I have until I graduate next year. Maybe if I beg enough the university will let me come back again…

Admittedly, few of my friends outside of this trip understand why my idea of fun consists of studying in a library for a week, but my own nerdiness notwithstanding, we have quite a bit more on the docket besides research. On Friday, we get to tour the Capitol building, and on Thursday, we have a private tour of the Supreme Court lined up. It would be especially awesome (though not likely) to run into a current Supreme Court justice while we’re there – I know if I see Justice Ginsburg there’s a New Yorker article I’m hoping to talk to her about…

All in all, I’d say we have a stellar week lined up. I only hope the rest of my friends who are here for the first time will have as great of an experience as I did last time I was here. Additionally, I know that my experience has already been better than ever (I’m at least not sleeping on the floor this time around). I’m excited to be back and ready to hit the books again early tomorrow morning.

Share this story:

    About Sarah Hanan


    This entry was posted in Political Science in Washington, 2013. Bookmark the permalink.