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Supreme Court Institute Honors Five Federal Judges

May 22, 2015 —

The fact that Georgetown Law’s Supreme Court Institute (SCI) honored five sitting appeals court judges at its year-end reception was definitely something to celebrate. But the event was also a homecoming — since all five of the honorees have made significant contributions to the Institute’s success.

Judge Richard G. Taranto of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; Judges Cornelia (“Nina”) T.L. Pillard, Patricia Millett and Sri Srinivasan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; and Judge Pamela Harris of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit were welcomed back to the Law Center on May 20 by a crowd of friends including Dean William M. Treanor, SCI Faculty Director and Professor Steven H. Goldblatt, Executive Director Irv Gornstein and Director Dori Bernstein

Paul D. Clement (F’88), a former U.S. solicitor general and a senior fellow at the Institute, presented each judge with a framed photograph of the group in the SCI’s moot courtroom. “There is this understandable sense of joy that five of our own have been selected for this great honor of service to the federal judiciary, …” said Clement. “And at least personally, I have a certain sense of relief that I no longer have to compete with these five superstars for potential cases.”

Pillard served as the Institute’s faculty co-director during her more than 10 years of service as a Georgetown Law professor. She taught classes including civil procedure and constitutional law until her 2013 confirmation to the bench. Harris served as SCI’s first executive director from 2009 to 2010 and was a visiting professor at the Law Center. 

Taranto, Millett and Srinivasan served as volunteer justices and on the Institute's outside advisory board of Supreme Court practitioners while they were in private practice. Srinivasan and Millett will teach at Georgetown Law in 2016.

Since its launch in 2000, the Institute has conducted moots for advocates appearing before the Supreme Court, with professors and other experts in the community serving as justices. This year, for the second time in its history, SCI mooted counsel in 100 percent of the cases on the Court’s docket (one side only). 

More than 1,500 observers — students and faculty — attended the moots during the 2014-2015 academic year, under a pledge of confidentiality. Professor Marty Lederman and Stanford Visiting Professor Brian Wolfman, former co-director of Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation clinic, provided the most service as volunteer justices.

“I became a better lawyer and I think a better jurist now as a result of that very careful and rigorous thinking process, …” Millett said of the moot court program. “It is really a very special thing that happens here … we all do better when we recognize we are in it together, in our goal of promoting justice.”

For a related story on Pillard and Harris, click here.

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