Student hears Supreme Court oral arguments

April 8, 2013
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Darienn Powers ’14 was 16th on line for the Supreme Court’s hearing on Proposition 8

Nineteen students participated in the Political Science and International Relations Club trip to Washington, D.C., March 24-26. One of those students, Darienn Powers ’14 (Political Science), who is the club’s secretary and took a lead role in planning the trip, also planned an extraordinary journey of her own.

With the goal of hearing the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case about Proposition 8, the law banning same-sex marriage in California, Powers made sure she arrived sufficiently early to get one of the 50-60 seats available to members of the public. She set off on a bus from New Paltz on Friday evening and arrived in D.C. early Saturday morning. She waited on line―outdoors, in the snow and rain―until the Tuesday morning proceedings began. Having landed the 16th spot on line, she was able to hear the oral arguments first-hand.

“Being present to hear that moment of history was really fantastic,” she said. “The lawyers, they’re like legal rock stars. It was just amazing.” Powers had been involved, with club advisor Professor Nancy Kassop (Political Science), with planning the spring break trip since before winter break. “It was a lot of work. It was stressful sometimes, but it all paid off in the end,” said Powers.

She caught up with the group at an Alumni Reception where, she said, “There were some familiar faces and some more recent grads as well. I met people on both sides of the aisle, who were in all different types of jobs. It was great to hear from people closer to my age who have really started to make it in Washington.”

Since the trip, Powers has been interviewed about her experience by National Public Radio, The New York Times, and several other news outlets.

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