Fenno Cross-Registers


Fenno reluctantly took the seating chart for her Fed Courts class and glanced at it. To her right, a small cabal of Law Review students sat scrutinizing thick reams of paper and glaring at anyone who tried to sit within eyeshot. To her left, ironically enough, seemed to sit a bastion of the Federalist Society.’

“Kavanaugh is already hiring,” said a pretty, perky blonde girl. She typed a couple numbers into a huge spreadsheet. “We got two – that should mean at least one SCOTUS for us next year. Wilkinson and O’Scannlain any minute.”

“Yeah,” came the reply, “but they better be Brett’s gold and silver medal clerks. I want public acknowledgment.”Meanwhile, a Law Review editor was savaging an unfortunate LLM who had dared to sit too close and, even worse, apparently asked if she had a copy of the syllabus he could borrow.

“Hey, you can’t know what this is. I could get in real trouble if anyone found out we had this. Don’t you get that this content is licensed specifically to the law review? We could sue you for violation of the Copyright Act and hammer you with statutory damages so large your student loans would look small.”The LLM slunk away and slid into the seat next to Fenno.

“In my country,” he said, in a heavy accent of some sort or another, “we have these people imprisoned and executed before they can do too much damage.” Fenno sighed and nodded; for all that taking Fed Courts would allow her to have class only on Mondays and Tuesdays, it just wasn’t worth the trouble.

She was going to have to cross-register.

Fenno first turned her thoughts toward the Divinity School. First, it was close. Second, most of the classes had titles like “Objectified Persons and Personified Objects: Politicized Storytelling within the Boundaries of the Forbidden State.” Third, everyone who had cross registered for Nussbaum’s seminar the year before had emerged with stories about deliciously scandalous University of Chicago faculty cocktail parties. Okay, nobody teaching there this year was exactly a Feldsuk, but you could always hope.

After winding her way through a maze of construction to Divinity Hall (several times, she was fairly certain, construction workers had blocked off the exact path she was walking on for the sole purpose of irritating her), however, she was already annoyed. The fact that she seemed to have emerged from a mysterious ancient catacomb by the Natural History Museum right into the Divinity School’s student activity fair didn’t help either.

“Hi!” someone shrieked in Fenno’s ear. “I’m from ‘Life Together!’ Have a pamphlet!”

“Umm, I’m not actually HIV Positive,” Fenno stammered. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

“No, silly,” said a blonde girl who reminded Fenno oddly of the Fed Soc clerkship conserva-bots. “We’re the student government. Of course, we wouldn’t want to sound ‘hierarchical,’ so we had to change the name to better reflect the egalitarian philosophies of Bon Hoeffer. I’m the Coordinator for the Coordinators!”

Fenno shrugged and moved on, feeling a brief surge of warmth for the Law School Student Government. At least they were honestly power hungry and, besides, it’s not like anyone had actually renamed the 1L sections.

Regardless, the Divinity School was out, and Fenno still needed another class. After lunch, she decided to try the Kennedy School, which had the advantage of a prime, convenient-to-IHOP location, not to mention course titles reminiscent of, well, the Divinity School.

She settled into her seat in “Democratization of Democracies: A Look at Third World Democratic Hierarchies,” glanced at the syllabus that was being passed around, and was heartened to see that the court only met once a week, on Tuesdays. This could work out after all.

“Good morning,” said the professor who was not, in fact, unattractive. “I’m very much looking forward to your input in this class, so let’s all go around the room and everyone can introduce themselves and share a bit about their experience with democratizing democratic hierarchies in third-world democracies with the class.”

As the first student started to talk, Fenno mentally tried to recast her Spring Break in Jamaica as community service. She had recycled those bottles she had been drinking out of, hadn’t she? Oh no, she had actually just thrown them into the water. Damn.

After five Peace Corps volunteers, three members of the royal families of countries Fenno had never heard of, and four volunteers with indigenous-run organizations who were strongly insinuating that the Peace Corps volunteers were cultural imperialists and, probably, tools of the CIA and Fenno had had enough. She slipped out the room, congratulating herself on remembering to sit in the back.

But not before jotting down the names of the three nobles; she’d have to google their countries, then poke them on Facebook.

* * *

Two months later, Fenno settled back on her couch and sighed in contentment. To think she had ever thought of slogging all the way over to the Kennedy school once a week, when she could work from home. She turned on her laptop and started up her web browser. Immediately, a message from pkrncyberlnd@gmail.com popped up in her Gmail.

“Fenno – Blow the lid off this – Ur use of the net as a revolutionary mechanism is mindblowing. Catch fire!– Charlie”

Fenno glanced over her webpage one more time, and hit “publish.” Then she cracked open a bottle of champagne and sat back to watch every single episode of Degrassi on her DVR. Independent study was the best.

Meanwhile, back in Fed Courts, the IMs were flying fast and furious, and all of them linked to a certain anonymous webpage. “Thousands of the Law Review’s ‘Secret’ Outlines and A+ Answers,” the page promised, “for a modest fee.” “Purchase now, and receive an additional volume, ‘Catty Law Review E-mails About Unimportant Things But Referencing Several Famous Dictators Each,’ Absolutely FREE! “*

*While supplies last.

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