Honors Course Reflections

Radha Polley: Blog 2

Today, Thursday, and our fourth day in the capitol, our class had the amazing opportunity to take a private tour of the U.S. Supreme Court with our gracious host and docent, Rafael. He was amazed with our factual knowledge about the workings of the Court and was excited to be able to tell us more obscure facts in which Court lovers like ourselves were interested. We were able to view closed rooms as well as preserved rooms, and we saw original oil paintings of the early Court Justices in the conference rooms.

Possibly the coolest thing about this tour was that he took us into the courtroom, and we were able to sit where the Supreme Court Bar Attorneys had reserved seating, at the front of the courtroom, just behind counsel’s desks. The spaces where the justices preside loomed over us; in the moment, all I could think was that if I were a lawyer in the Supreme Court, every move I may make would be under the watchful eye of a justice; every argument I could make would be made under the eyes of the highest court in America. It was moving to be able to stand at the podium and look up at the high-backed leather seats where justices listen to oral arguments that occur in the Supreme Court. Another classmate remarked that she could barely believe this was the same room in which the cases she was researching were argued in half a decade ago, and she had vocalized precisely what I had been feeling. The evolution of cases I am researching happened right there; through time, with multiple justices, many cases, and many petitioners, respondents, and lawyers. That is where I had the privilege of standing today.

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