A Supreme Court Justice Meets an Elephant…with Vertigo

Elephants can get dizzy. (Photo by Caroline D1)

In the very far corner of the library, there exists a secret corridor. I discovered this passageway in the midst of winter finals, my snow-laden boots leading me down into the shadowy depths. The hallway—painted white and rather sterile—houses restrooms, a series of water fountains, and a smattering of offices on either side. During my many peregrinations through this hallway, I’ve found myself consistently alone.

Until recently. In the tizzy that was finishing my first draft of the 1L Oral Argument Brief, I quickly stepped into the hallway (quite possibly muttering case law to myself) and disappeared for a few moments into the women’s restroom. When I emerged, I pushed open the door with the usual degree of frustrated force and stumbled into a large group of wide-eyed individuals.

Perusing their faces, I knew at once that I had done something rather extraordinary. I stammered something that resembled an “Excuse me,” and then my curiosity took hold. I wondered: Why are so many people in the hallway? Where are they going? What business do they have in the abyss of the tomes? Still seeing many wide eyes, I perused the faces of the group, searching for some indication as to what on Earth was amiss.

And then…Sonia Sotomayor. The honorable, the wonderful, the true Sonia Sotomayor was staring back at me with a most sagacious smirk.

What does one do when confronted with so much excellence in one moment? I have enough faith in the world to hope that most people would behave better than I. My jaw dropped. I looked at everyone to confirm that I hadn’t utterly lost my mind, and then I spat out, “I’m so sorry, I am in your way,” stepping to the side with as much grace as an elephant with vertigo.

Away she went, ushered down the hallway with her cohort of security guards. One looked back me and gave me a wink—solace, perhaps, for my poor performance. Nonetheless, it remains a moment out of Neverland for me.