In late September, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law at William & Mary Law School hosted its 27th Annual Supreme Court Preview. This two-day event brought many esteemed legal scholars, journalists, judges, and attorneys to campus to examine the highest court in the land’s docket in its new term, which began in early October. To my excitement, law students were invited and encouraged to attend as well.
To some, the prospect of attending a series of legal discussions on a Friday evening and Saturday sounds unappealing (especially because, as students, we spend quite a lot of time thinking about the law anyway!). However, I’m a legal nerd. In college, I decided to subscribe to not one, but two email bulletins about the Supreme Court of the United States. Through these updates, I’m notified from October until June whenever the Court so much as sneezes, and certainly whenever the justices grant certiorari to a new case or release an opinion. I was therefore intrigued by what the Supreme Court Preview would have to offer.
The Preview began with a Moot Court demonstration of a case that will go before the Supreme Court this term. Although many of the intricacies of the case went over my head (I am only a couple months into my law school education, after all!), it was still really interesting to watch seasoned professionals – who have both argued before the Court – deliver compelling oral arguments in one of the lecture halls where I go for class every week. It was also entertaining to see some of my professors pretending to be the Supreme Court justices presiding over the case and interrupting the attorneys’ arguments to ask a barrage of nuanced questions.
As I already mentioned, I didn’t understand everything that was said at the Supreme Court Preview. I really shouldn’t be surprised about this; after all, I only have a B.A. in Government and half a semester of law school under my belt, whereas the professions attending the event have dedicated their lives to the legal profession and are preeminent members of the field. Still, it was inspiring to be sitting among them for a few hours in the same room where I routinely struggle to understand my doctrinal coursework. Before classes began, members of the law school administration reminded all the incoming 1Ls that our membership in the legal community begins in law school, not with passing the bar exam or arguing our first case. My experience with the Supreme Court Preview proved this to be true and reminded me that I’m one of many professionals who are eagerly anticipating what the Court has up its sleeve for this new term.
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