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Law school students tour U.S. Supreme Court, Library of Congress

July 9, 2009 : University Advancement staff

Liberty University School of Law students who participated in a summer externship program with Liberty Counsel recently toured Washington, D.C., including a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The students visited the Supreme Court on June 30, the last day it was in session for the term. On that day, the nine justices released the last of the opinions of the term, including the highly watched case of Ricci v. DeSefano, a case written by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who has been nominated to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the High Court. The Supreme Court reversed Judge Sotomayor 5-4. Students also received a private tour of the Supreme Court and a lecture by General William Suter, the Clerk of the Supreme Court.

“Visiting the United States Supreme Court is an awesome experience,” said Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University School of Law. “The Court’s chambers are spectacular. Liberty University School of Law has the only replica in the nation of the actual nine-member bench of the High Court, which we call The Supreme Courtroom. Those who have visited the law school immediately see the similarity between the two courtrooms.”

Following the tour of the Supreme Court, the students were led on a private tour of the Library of Congress by James Hutson, a distinguished scholar and historian who is chief of the Library’s Manuscript Division. The tour included the Reading Room, with a large, towering statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. Students also viewed many ancient manuscripts, including the original diary of George Washington.

Liberty Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. is currently working with Hutson on a display of Dr. Jerry Falwell’s manuscripts so people from around the world can study his life and contributions.

The students ended the day by attending a reception at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Some students in the program are doing their externship or internship in the Washington, D.C., office of the Liberty Center for Law and Policy, where they work with national policy issues and political leaders. Others are learning litigation at the Liberty Counsel office on the campus of Liberty University.

Michele Waddell, who will attend Liberty University School of Law in August, is doing a volunteer non-credit internship this summer with Liberty Counsel. She said the recent trip was a highlight.

“In my short time here, I’ve been to the Supreme Court and read from George Washington’s diary dated July 4, 1786,” she said. “Not many people can say they’ve done either, and I cannot think of anything greater than these experiences that being a part of Liberty Counsel has given to me.”

Amanda Babbitt, a third-year student at the law school, said she especially enjoyed speaking with General Souter, the Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, and “hearing all the stories and advice he gave us as we head into our careers as attorneys.”

Jeffrey Hesson, who will enter his third and final year at the law school, is also doing an internship with Liberty Counsel. He said the trip helped him “refocus on why I'm in law school — to effect change on the national level and be part of the larger discussion on morality in America.”



Liberty Counsel is a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family. Established in 1989, Liberty Counsel is a nationwide organization with offices in Florida, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and hundreds of affiliate attorneys across the Nation.