Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lawnerd 4 Life

My goodness, I've just had the nerdiest day possible AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

The morning started off, of course, with a healthy dose of SCOTUSblog. I'm going to have serious withdrawal symptoms after tomorrow morning, until next summer. What? You don't spend your morning bus ride SCOTUSblogging? Ugh to the Voting Rights Act decision. Much love to RBG. #lawnerd for life

Later, some colleagues and I went up to the Ninth Circuit, who are sitting en banc in Seattle this week. (Usually, when the Circuit, which is the Court just below the U.S. Supreme Court, hears cases, they do so in panels of three judges. After the panel has issued its decision, the Circuit can decide to hear a case "en banc," or in a panel of 11 judges. It's a big deal and very few cases are granted an en banc hearing. So, it was a pretty exciting and rare opportunity to see the Circuit sitting in Seattle.)

Almost all of my work is governed by the decisions that the Circuit issues, so in my head they're the "high overlords on the hill." Another one of my friends refers to them as the "tallest trees in the forest." They're a BIG deal and it's FASCINATING to go see the judges in person, after spending so much time reading and rereading their opinions.

We observed a case about the circumstances under which the border patrol has reasonable suspicion to stop and search a vehicle. So, it was a pretty fun set of facts and a reasonably easy issue to understand, thank goodness, since this falls outside my specific area of expertise. The plaintiff's lawyer was dreadful and the Government's attorney was awesome. And the judges were SO FUNNY and SO SNARKY. It was way better than the panels that I've seen. I loved the sparring that was going on between them and the Government attorney: I was literally grinning from ear to ear. It's times like this, when I'm so happy watching a really, really good argument happen, that I know I'm in the right profession!

Afterwards, we all had lunch before going on a second field trip, which I'm not going to go into detail about, but it was also great. I love asking questions and getting a better perspective on how my work fits into the larger picture.

And, then, tonight, I spent an obscene amount of time watching the filibuster proceedings in Texas. In my past life, I did a LOT of Model UN, so I'm actually very, very good at parliamentary procedure. It's amazing how much you can accomplish by knowing those rules! I never thought, however, that it would mean I had some basic idea of what was going on in the Texas Senate. My political nerdy heart was oh so happy! I just swoon when people start quoting out of big books of rules. Again, this is why I'm a lawyer. I also grew up around legislators (my mom worked for the Indiana legislature for ~30 years) and I forget how much I kind of love that world. Maybe I should think about going to the Hill someday...

I know. I'm a nerd. This post isn't about running. But, I do like to remember that there are things I'm passionate about, other than running! LAW!!!