On occasion, Blackman-Harris brings a sleeping bag “because that marble is cold, okay?” he said. “I’ve had to defrost my feet several times. And that’s why I love the Supreme Court cafeteria.”
Mike Sacks knows the difficulty as well. He spent part of law school at Georgetown University trying to be the first in line for important cases and writing about it for a blog he created called “First One at One First,” a reference to the court’s address: 1 First St. NE.
Sacks met people who had interest in a specific case, lawyers interested in an issue, law students interested in their new profession.
“Graham, on the other hand, was just a big fan of the institution,” said Sacks, adding that Blackman-Harris has a remarkable “hope and enthusiasm for the country.”
Sacks also knows what it’s like to get hooked on the court; he is giving up a job at a big law firm to become the Supreme Court correspondent for the Huffington Post.
A fan’s favorites
Blackman-Harris said he is a political moderate, so perhaps it is not surprising that his favorite on the current court is Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote when the court’s conservatives and liberals split.
“I can understand his opinions,” Blackman-Harris said. “He makes it clear.”
His all-time favorite? “Justice [Hugo] Black, come on!” he exclaimed. “First Amendment! I’m a First Amendment guy.”
Sometimes the court lets him down. He was disappointed in the Citizens United case, which held that a prohibition on campaign expenditures by corporations and labor unions violated political speech rights.
“Money is not speech and a corporation is not a person,” Blackman-Harris said, aligning himself with the four dissenters and separating him — temporarily — from Kennedy. “My Constitution does not say that.”
He’s never met one of the nine — “I would be blown away,” he said — and he wishes the court would relent and televise its proceedings.
That is not a complaint, though.
As he explained, “You can’t have everything.”
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