Four Justices Attend Supreme Court Institute Event

April 30, 2012 — This year’s Supreme Court Institute year-end reception, held April 26 in the lobby of the Hotung International Law Building, honored Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “We’re particularly proud to recognize a justice who’s one of our own," said Dean William M. Treanor, noting the justice’s special connection to the Law Center — her late husband, Martin Ginsburg, was a longtime professor here.

Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan attended the reception, as did Justice Antonin Scalia, who called Ginsburg “my best friend on the court.” Scalia said he had two functions at the reception — to support the activities of the Institute, which mooted 64 of the 69 cases held this year and because of which, he said, “the quality of the arguments has improved enormously,” and the second was to praise Ginsburg, whom he called “a wonderful judge.”

“Her questions from the bench are short and to the point,” Scalia added. “She focuses on the important issues.”

James Feldman, president of the Washington Opera and frequent Supreme Court advocate, presented Ginsburg with a signed poster of an opera in which she and Justice Scalia were supernumeraries — and also arranged for her to be serenaded by two singers from the Opera.

Ginsburg said she was touched by the tributes, and she praised the Supreme Court Institute, saying its moot court program provides “a tremendous service to the Court.”

Supreme Court Institute director Irv Gornstein thanked the Institute’s many volunteer judges. “The 200 of you … gave 1400 students a chance to see a moot court,” he said. This year all 1L students attended a moot court session as part of their Legal Research and Writing class.

Also in attendance at the event were Solicitor General Donald Verrilli; Professor Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general; and Paul Clement, former solicitor general. “Paul did five moots this year,” said Gornstein, “and he agreed to stick around and answer [student] questions after each and every one.”

-- Anne Cassidy