The ACS Trip to Our Nation’s Capital

March 30, 2008 | | Comments Off on The ACS Trip to Our Nation’s Capital

Recently, ten members of William & Mary’s chapter of the American Constitution Society drove up to Washington, D.C. to explore some of the capital’s most important landmarks.
Washington Monument Pt. ??

The first stop of the day – not counting Wawa on I-95 – was the Supreme Court of the United States. After inquisitively checking out the many busts of Chief Justices of the past (and wondering why the first, John Jay, was tucked away in a random stairwell), the group sat in on an informational question and answer session inside the very court where cases such as “The Bong Hits for Jesus Case” were decided. Ironically, the only other group at the Court on this particular day was composed of approximately sixty ten year-olds. When the tour guide invited the group to try to stump her on Supreme Court trivia, it was not one of the law schoolers who succeeded in doing so, but a small child from California who asked, “What was the fifth case argued in this Court?” The tour guide was stumped. She did know, however, the mythological significance of all of the sculpted figures decorating the upper walls, nearly all of whom were religious figures.

The second stop of the day, only a few feet from the SCOTUS itself, was the cafeteria of the Supreme Court of the United States (COTSCOTUS) where the group enjoyed a tasty meal in the same room where, as a plaque in the room explained, Antonin Scalia eats his breakfast every day, even when the court is not in session, “because that’s how the framers did it.” Highlights of the COTSCOTUS menu include the Burger and Frankfurter and the Blackmun and White milkshake. Hey-o!

After finishing the meal, the group headed to one of the Senate Office Buildings (SOBs) where they met with Kevin Landy, Chief Counsel to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. Mr. Landy was kind enough to explain what his job involves and to answer the group’s questions about government in general. His charming mix of obvious intelligence and political savvy made him an immediate hit with the group.

The next stop was at Virginia Representative Bobby Scott’s office. Although Rep. Scott was not there, David Dailey, one of his highly affable aides was kind enough to meet with the group to give them a guided tour of the capitol building. Highlights included the former basement-locus of the Supreme Court, preserved exactly as it was when Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote the Dred Scott decision, and the old senate chamber where John Quincy Adams is said to have feigned age-induced feebleness in order to listen in on the conversations of his opponents across the room, making use of an odd curvature in the ceiling of the room that amplifies noises from across the floor.

By that time it was time to leave, or else be stuck in seven hours of traffic just to get from D.C. to Fredericksburg. It may have been a short trip, but there’s no doubt that the ten ACS members who embarked on this journey, much like Frodo and Sam, will never forget it.

The trick is to start small and write for local publications for either no pay or low pay?


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