The doors to the east entrance of the Ames Courtroom were closed around 11 am with “NO ENTRY” signs posted outside. Students, faculty and others entered the courtroom through the West staircase. As I was standing in the Admissions Office lobby, I realized what the fuss was about… outside my door stood Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He was here at the end of last month for a program with Dean Minow, but had come earlier in the day to host a lunchtime talk with a couple of our 1L sections. As I sat in my office reading applications, I could hear the students in the courtroom laughing. It’s days like this that I am in awe of this place.
Here’s the thing about HLS though: having a speaker like Justice Thomas isn’t uncommon. In January it was Justice Thomas, this month we honored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 20 years on the Supreme Court, and in April, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Justice David Souter will help kick off a conference on Civics Education. When students come to HLS, they have a chance to take advantage of all these extra opportunities. They know that what can seem commonplace during their three years in Cambridge becomes extraordinary once they leave. And I know our students don’t take that for granted.