Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CBA Members Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar

This morning, I ran my record in the United States Supreme Court to three and one – in motions to admit attorneys to the Bar of that Court. Today, I had the pleasure of moving the admission of 11 Chicago Bar Association Members into that Bar. Kimberly Taylor moved the admission of another four of our members.

We assembled in the East Conference Room of the Court.
Our group assembled bright and early in the morning for photos on the steps of the Supreme Court, then enjoyed a breakfast in the East Conference room of the Court. That Conference Room, used for official Court functions, is decorated with portraits of past United States Supreme Court Justices, including Rehnquist, Warren, Burger and Taft. We heard from retired Major General William Suter, the Clerk of the Court, who regaled us with stories about oral arguments past.

Our group on the steps of the Supreme Court building.
 Then the highlight of the day – we filed into the Supreme Court Courtroom, where, before arguments began, I got to stand before the justices and move the admissions of our members. I am happy to say that the Court granted my motion without a moment’s hesitation (and with no difficult questions).

We then settled in to watch two oral arguments – in Camreta v. Green and Schindler Elevator Corp. v. United States ex rel. Kirk. The Camreta case is a closely-watched case coming out of the Ninth Circuit, in which the court below held that a child abuse investigator with the State of Oregon violated the Fourth Amendment by failing to obtain either a warrant or parental consent before pulling a child from class at school and questioning her about whether her parents were abusing her. The Court was very lively during argument, and appeared to be very interested in whether the case is now moot and whether it should simply vacate the portion of the Ninth Circuit’s decision finding a Fourth Amendment violation. The second case presented the question whether a FOIA response can fall within the exception to the right to bring qui tam actions under the False Claims Act where a claim is based upon information discernable from a government “report.” On that issue, as well, the Court engaged in very active questioning.
Justice Alito greets my mother, Kathryn Mascherin,
and me in his chambers

A highlight of the morning for me (and my mother, Kay, who was my guest for the morning) was the opportunity to visit briefly after the morning court session with Justice Samuel Alito, the son of family friends, who attended the same high school that I attended back in Hamilton, N.J.

It’s always a pleasure to be able to visit the Supreme Court. Whenever I see the Court in action I am convinced that we have the best justice system in the world, and I am proud to be a part of it.