BY KEVIN PARKER
From One First Street to the Pentagon, the HLS Republicans covered a lot of ground – and met a lot of HLS alumni – during their annual trip to Washington, D.C. from February 28th through March 2nd. Twenty-six members of the club met with a diverse group of lawyers and policy makers during their time in the city. Brett Talley, HLS GOP President and 3L, called the trip “the most successful that [he had] been on in [his] time at HLS.”
In addition to meeting with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ’60, Solicitor General Paul Clement ’92, and General Counsel for the Department of Defense Jim Haynes ’83, the group met with Tom Josefiak, Chief Counsel to the Republican National Committee; Christopher Gober ’04, General Counsel to the NRSC; Matthew Acock, Legislative Director to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison; Texas Senator John Cornyn; Bill Kelley, Deputy White House Counsel; and, Charles J. Cooper of Cooper & Kirk.
Before meeting with Justice Scalia at the Supreme Court, the group got a tour from George Hicks ’05, a current clerk to Chief Justice Roberts. In addition to the normal tour the students also had a chance to shoot a few hoops on the “highest court in the land” as well. Justice Scalia was a particular treat, delivering no remarks and using all of his time to take questions from students.
On the Hill, the group met with staff from the offices of both Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Senator John Cornyn. While Senator Hutchinson only had time for a brief photo with the students, Senator Cornyn not only spoke to the group, but also took questions from the students as well. “I really enjoyed our extensive Q&A with Senator Cornyn. The Senator knows how important judicial appointments are, and I think we all sensed – and appreciated – his passion for getting good judges on the bench,” said Michael Sevi, HLS GOP Vice President and a 3L.
Near the Hill, the group also met with Tom Josefiak, Chief Counsel to the RNC, and Christopher Gober ’04, General Counsel to the NRSC, to get a sense of being a lawyer involved in the day to day politics of the Republican Party.
The second day of the trip started with a trip to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to visit Bill Kelly in the White House Counsel’s Office and learn about some of the interesting issues that arise when one’s client is the leader of the free world. Before heading to the Department of Justice, the group stopped at the offices of Charles Cooper and heard stories about his time as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Council during the Reagan Administration.
While the trip was slowed by extensive security at the Department of Justice before meeting with Solicitor General Clement, the delay was well worth it. The Solicitor General not only answered substantive questions about the SG’s office but also let students in on the secret of the SG’s “morning coat” (namely, that there isn’t one).
The last official stop of the trip was at the Pentagon where the group got a tour of the building before meeting with Mr. Haynes. While he was delayed due to pressing business, Mr. Haynes was able to share his experience not only at the Pentagon, but also as a Circuit Court nominee.
In addition to the group meetings, students broke up into smaller groups for lunches over the two days of the trip to get more time with guests such as Rachel Brand (HLS ’98), AAG for the Office of Legal Policy, Jon Cohn, DAAG of the Civil Division, and Ben Ginsberg, who served as national counsel to the Bush-Cheney Campaign in both the 2004 and 2000 election cycles.
In the end the trip was a great success “highlight[ing] both the importance and variety of public service that a Harvard Law degree prepares us for,” said Sarah Isgur, the 2L who principally organized the trip. She then added, “After getting over the shock of how many Republicans we have at Harvard Law, every speaker stressed the personal and professional satisfaction of public service.”