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:

All good things must come to an end. However, classifying this experience as “good” would be a grave understatement. This past week was phenomenal. As I sit in my room in Dallas, I can’t help but feel nostalgia for Room 359, long days in the Library of Congress, and our ragtag gang.

The justices’ papers truly enlightened my research. Unfortunately, Justice Black burned most of his papers. He thought publishing the personal notes would impair candid deliberation among the justices. While I wish his papers were more complete, it made the few treasures I found all the more exciting. Rifling through his papers was like going on a mad scavenger hunt for information yielding insight to his jurisprudence. I’m considering writing to Justice Scalia and Roberts so that I can look through their papers in the future and hopefully find my letters! Now that’s what I call fan mail…

With Justice Hugo Black’s portrait

Researching in the Library of Congress was only one of the many incredible aspects of this trip. Bonding with my fellow nerdy, Supreme Court-loving classmates was just as incredible. Before D.C. we were just students taking the same class. Now, we are one big family. Just as the colonies merged into a single nation, 13 students, along with Papa Kobylka, merged into a supportive and eccentric circle of friends. As the Seal of the United States says, E pluribus unum. Out of many, one. It will feel strange to walk without 13 other people by my side. We went everywhere together. In fact, the farthest I ever walked by myself was the 20 feet to the circulation desk to pick up more files!

This experience would not have been possible without Professor Kobylka, the Richter Foundation, and SMU. I am so thankful to have a professor as intelligent, inspiring, and dedicated to his students as is Professor Kobylka. I also can’t fully express my appreciation for SMU and the Richter Foundation funding this opportunity. SMU has given my peers and me an experience that most undergraduates can only dream about.

Justice Black’s papers

From the overflowing files to the metro rides (and naps), milkshakes, my one-time run on the Custis Trail, and Supreme Court chitchats, this Spring Break is one for the books. It was truly scholarly madness. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.