Vox Populi – 1/13/10

Posted in Vox Populi by Mike Sacks on January 13, 2010

These past three days have been among the most rewarding I’ve ever had.  F1@1F is still in its infancy and its mission still far from accomplished, but my first week at the Court has been a rousing success.  I would like to thank everyone who spoke with me on and off the record in the freezing cold as well as Above the Law for blurbing over thousands of visitors to the web site on Monday.

Today’s crowd for American Needle v. NFL featured a sports law guru; two beaming UVA 2Ls; a headlamped, brief-reading, lawn-chair sitting college senior; and a DC lawyer who works for the firm representing the NFL and clerked for the Seventh Circuit judge whose opinion was at issue this morning.  And they were only numbers two through six in line.

But for all the lawyers and law students in the general admission line before dawn this morning, two lay persons will stand head and shoulders above all in my memory.  Literally.

Jim and Meade Klingensmith, a father and son from Pittsburgh, PA, and both, by my estimate, standing about 6’6″, waited in line each day this week.  And next week, when I will be sleeping in and going to class, they will be back out there in line, making wimps out of the rest of us.

Meade, a sophomore at Oberlin College, is in DC on his winter term, where he is pursuing an independent study.  His project?

“I’m going to all five hearings,” said Meade, “and for each one, I will be writing down how I would come down in the case and how I think it will actually come down.”  Awesome.

Jim, Meade’s father, just retired and was visibly thrilled to have the time to share this unique experience with his son.  His wonder at the Court remained equally palpable since we met on Monday.

“It’s very impressive to see the judicial system at work,” Jim said through a smile.  “It really affirms your belief in the law.  Everything you’re seeing, you’d expect to see, but it’s good to actually see it.”

And for a college student who could still be on break had he so desired, Meade had a surprisingly positive attitude about his grueling mornings.  Whereas waking up at 2:30am was the hardest part for me, Meade claimed that nights are harder because he knows he’ll be sleeping for fewer hours than he’ll be standing in the cold.   But, said Meade, “once the morning comes, I just go for it.”

Nearly every person I spoke to had his or her own fear about these mornings: not enough sleep, too cold, going alone, hard to wake up, may get there too late to get in.  But once these mornings came, we all went for it.  And once we get in line and meet our neighbors, our fears melt away, even if our toes turn to ice.

“It’s been fascinating to hear each person’s story,” reflected Jim.

I couldn’t agree more.  Thanks to everyone in line who shared theirs with me.

I hope to see you all again next month for the next batch of newsworthy cases.  And if any of you readers want to come on out, well, you know where to find me.

Until then, I will continue to blog regularly, sans Court reports, here at F1@1F.  Subscribe by RSS or email, bookmark the page, or check in whenever.  I enjoy your comments and feedback, so please keep the hits coming.


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6 Responses

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  1. Meade K said, on January 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    We’re very flattered Mike. It’s been a blast sharing our mornings with you, and this blog is fantastic.

    Best of luck keeping this going and finishing out law school. And really, you should invest in some boots as soon as possible.

  2. Hm? said, on January 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    What do you mean by sleeping in next week?

    • Mike Sacks said, on January 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      This is what I mean:

      Mon., Jan. 18: Legal holiday; no arguments
      Tues., Jan. 19:
      Mac’s Shell Service, Inc. v. Shell Oil Products Company; Shell Oil Products Company v. Mac’s Shell Service (08-240; 08-372) — the rights of service station operators to sue to challenge the loss, or non-renewal of their franchises from oil companies
      Granite Rock Company v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters (08-1214) — federal court’s jurisdiction to determine collective bargaining agreement formation
      Wed., Jan. 20:
      Berghuis v. Smith (08-1402) — the proper test to assess the fairness of community representation on a jury
      Conkright v. Frommert (08-810) — the proper standard of review for an ERISA denial-of-benefits case

  3. Conspiracy! « FIRST ONE @ ONE FIRST said, on January 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

    […] legal importance for criminal law and procedure over at VC in November 2007.  This week’s cases, as far as I can tell, haven’t touched any public nerve, so I am taking this week off from […]

  4. Hm? said, on January 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Ooooh proper standard of review for ERISA denial-of-benefits case. That would be interesting, if anyone (on the bench or otherwise) actually understood ERISA.

  5. […] on April 2, 2010 One of the most gratifying parts of this project has been meeting all sorts of people in the early morning line.  And as it turns out, I’m not the only person who goes home and […]

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