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My name is Hala Furst, and I am a 3L. Before coming to Roger Williams I received a BA in Theatre Arts at the University of Minnesota. In the three years between graduating from college and arriving here in Bristol, RI, I worked as a hotel concierge for a luxury brand, a loan officer and mortgage...

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A Supreme Opportunity

Posted by Hala Furst on 02/13/2008 at 12:00 AM

Yesterday morning I stood up in front of a room full of my peers and was able to say “Mr. Chief Justice, I have a question.” It was awesome.

John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court held a question and answer session for students and faculty of Roger Williams University School of Law yesterday morning. I was one of the lucky few who won the lottery to attend, and one of the even luckier few who got to pose a question to the Chief. He was an amiable man, and very open to our questions, if exceedingly careful in his answers . I didn’t agree with much of what he said, but regardless of my political leanings, it was an amazing thing to be able to speak to the person holding that position. Now, I don’t have any actual figures on the matter, but my guess is that is a pretty unique experience. I don’t know of many other schools that offer a similar opportunity, and I know it hasn’t happened here before, because we found out yesterday that this is the first time a Chief has visited Rhode Island on official business since the 18th century. So it all felt pretty monumental, and people were very excited. This experience is just one example of the incredible access to unique opportunities that being the only law school in the state affords our students. Being the only game in town does have advantages.

Getting to experience the Chief Justice’s visit was also a reminder that judges, even the highest judges in the land, are just people, with their own biases and personalities. It was a deeply human way of meeting Chief Justice Roberts; I imagine a conference room in the Federal Court House in Providence is far less intimidating for all parties than the Supreme Court. It allowed us all to see that he was just a man, an incredibly intelligent man, but one who at one time was also going through the struggles of Future Interests and Strict Liability. On the bus ride back a 3d year student mentioned my question, and said “I guess that will be the one time you get to argue in front of the Chief Justice, since I don’t think anyone from RWU has done it so far.” I turned back to him and said that there was a first time for everything. Someday someone from Roger Williams University School of Law will argue in front of the Supreme Court. Maybe someone already has (I haven’t looked on WestLaw because I’m sick of research for the Appellate Brief); maybe it will be me, and maybe it will be you. Either way, I don’t think this is the last Chief Justice Roberts will hear from RWU.