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.

Our scholarly family

  Our group with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse, who also was conducting research at the Library of Congress 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: I can’t believe we’ve already been back in Dallas for a few days! The time in DC flew by as we finished out our week scrambling to complete our research and touring the Court and Capitol. Honestly, it was the best week of my semester. During our tour of the Court we got to see a private conference room and the Justices’ library. I was very excited to see the library again as it [...]

2013-03-21T21:49:21+00:00 March 21st, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Our Chief Justice sighting

An update from Julianna, a sophomore majoring in business who is conducting research on the exclusionary rule: It’s been a little over two days since we made our way back to Dallas. I don’t even know where to begin! My initial post-trip reaction was most succinctly conveyed in my conversation with my Mom. “Julie, tell me all about your trip! It must have been so exciting. Did you see the Capitol? How was the Supreme Court?? How was Obama doing?” “It was awesome. Sorry, gotta sleep…..” and then I trailed off in a stream of mumbles as slumber overtook me. I didn’t wake up until 4 pm Sunday. Yes, this trip was absolutely exhausting, but it was in the most [...]

2013-03-20T22:10:13+00:00 March 19th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

The end of the beginning

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: Having been back in Dallas for a couple days, I have had a chance to step back and reflect on the whole experience of studying in the Library of Congress with my classmates for a week. The second half of the week proved as exciting, if not more, than the first. We got to tour the institution that we have been so closely studying, and even caught a glimpse of Chief Justice John Roberts in one of the [...]

2013-03-19T20:35:00+00:00 March 19th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

A connection to a defining moment

An update from Brandon F., a sophomore political science and accounting major who is conducting research on the development and eventual end of Brown v. Board’s doctrine of “All Deliberate Speed...”: Looking back on the week, all I can say is WOW! Spring Break in Washington, D.C., turned out to be the most academically satisfying experience of my life. My research, which focused on the period of desegregation, gave me a new sense of the magnitude of the Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The papers at the Library of Congress allowed me to look directly through the eyes of the Supreme Court Justices, an experience that was truly one of a kind. Each day I was able to examine the [...]

2013-03-18T21:43:43+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Rich week of research

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’m back in Dallas, and I can’t believe it was already a week ago that we were checking in to get our readers’ cards at the Library of Congress. Eric and Taylor with Justice Blackmun's portrait The second half of the week was just as busy as the first half. Thursday started out with some more research in the Madison building before we set out on our tour of the Supreme Court. From the outside, the Court is truly imposing (even if we couldn’t see the front because they were renovating the marble). [...]

2013-03-18T21:52:28+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Our ‘scholarly conversation’

An update from Brandon B., a third-year political science, history and English major who is conducting research on "swing Justices" on the Court: After an abbreviated day of research on Saturday and a long stay at the airport, we made it back to D/FW airport about 9 that evening. The week really flew by, and I was digging through files at the library basically until we had to start packing up. Considering the breadth of my research project, I knew that I likely would not get through everything I needed, but I was amazed at how much I did manage to see. All things considered, I probably ended up with significant qualitative data on over 50 Supreme Court cases (some of [...]

2013-03-18T21:38:39+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Keeping the momentum going

An update from Katelyn, a sophomore majoring in journalism, Spanish and political science, and conducting research on the Supreme Court's opinions on student rights: It’s now Saturday evening, and as I sit 30,000 feet in the air on my flight back to Dallas, I finally have time to reflect on my whirlwind experience in Washington, D.C. When we came to D.C. early Monday morning, I couldn’t conceptualize what it was I was about to do. I knew two things: (1) I had research to conduct in the justices’ papers in the Library of Congress, and (2) my Spring Break was going to be unlike any other. I knew I was in for a great experience, but I really could never expect [...]

2013-03-18T21:22:40+00:00 March 18th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Scholarly madness

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 [...]

2013-03-18T20:49:47+00:00 March 17th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Hearing the Justices’ “voices”

An update from Anna, a senior majoring in history and anthropology, who is conducting research on sex discrimination under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause: I can hardly believe that a week ago I was packing my bag, ready to head off for a week in D.C. I can still remember waiting at the airport — uncertain of what I could accomplish in such a short time and, too, wondering what I might take away from this experience. Now that I’m back home in Dallas, I can honestly say that my research time at the Library of Congress passed way too quickly, but with more than a hundred pages of typed notes, I feel proud of the work that I accomplished during [...]

2013-03-18T20:38:58+00:00 March 17th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|

Groundhog Week

An update from Kristine, a sophomore majoring in real estate finance and minoring in law and legal reasoning and Spanish, who is researching Justice Byron White’s position in libel cases over his tenure on the Court and why he ultimately called for the reversal of his opinion in the 1964 case New York Times v. Sullivan: I am finally sitting here at the airport ready and able to decompress everything that I have taken in this week. I have kept myself on a fairly tight schedule in order to make sure I wasn’t too tired for each next day’s work because I was determined to run every morning with my favorite professor.  For those of you who don’t know, he [...]

2013-03-18T20:08:55+00:00 March 17th, 2013|Political Science in Washington, 2013|
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