Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Supreme Experience


A few years ago, I had an opportunity to hear a case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States.  My good friends Julie and Dave were attorneys for a case that made it's way to the Supreme Court so we all went to Washington DC for the event.  Julie and Dave had special seating because they were named in the case.  Julie's mother Glenda and I were there to observe.


Anyone can observe a case at any time.  It just takes some determination, the ability to get up very early, and a heavy coat if the case will be heard in the winter months.  This one was in December and it was very, very cold when we lined up in front of the court hoping to get in.  There are only a select number of spectator seats available so it's important to get in line as early as possible to be assured of a seat.  If I recall correctly, we waited in line in the freezing cold for around two hours before the guards came and issue numbers to us, assuring us of a seat.  Only then were we able to go inside and warm up.  While we waited for the session to start, we went to the cafeteria for breakfast and warmth.


You are not allowed to take a camera or a purse, or a briefcase, or even a coat inside the courtroom.  The only thing you can carry is a pad of paper and a pencil.  We stopped at the coat room where coats were checked and lockers secured our belongings.  After the session was over, I was able to snap this one photo looking toward the courtroom.


It is an experience that I will never forget.  I was lucky enough to hear a case that had impact on the state of Arizona but, I highly recommend hearing oral arguments for any case that is being heard while you are in Washington DC.  The experience of seeing those judges at work is priceless.

9 comments:

llandudnopictures said...

I imagine it was a fascinating, if somewhat chilly, experience!

Thérèse said...

I can only imagine! Unique and as you say priceless. What an awesome experience.

Kathy said...

What a wonderful experience. Having worked in the legal profession the majority of my career, I'm quite jealous.

Kate said...

Wonderful shots and a very good explanation. I was there for a case because my DH had a significant Native American case for Minnesota law before the Supreme Court. It was awesome and I LOVED Sandra Day O'Connor.

Lois said...

What a wonderful experience Sharon. Thank you for sharing it!

William Kendall said...

It is a beautiful building. I haven't photographed our Supreme Court, actually, and I should. One can't take a photograph of the courtroom itself, but the entry hall is allowed, and it is grand in there. The court itself is more utilitarian.

Judy said...

I remember when you did that. Must have been very interesting. You got some nice pictures.

Catalyst said...

I've been to Washington several times, including once for the confirmation hearings for Sandra Day O'Connor, but was never inside the high court.

Jack said...

I was inside this building when I was a junior in college and worked for the summer as a Congressional intern, but after becoming a lawyer, I never went back. Even when a couple of my company's cases were being argued. (I wasn't going to argue the cases myself and the seats were limited, so I thought people who had worked more directly on the cases should have the fun and the honor of sitting in on the argument.)