Chris Miller, former Hassine Scholar, is finding out that being passionate about public service pays off. Miller recently met Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an individual that has inspired his belief that working hard can effect huge change in the world.
Miller is a highly driven individual. Currently in his third year at Georgetown Law, he received his undergraduate degree from American University. In his time at AU, BleakHouse Publishing also named him a Hassine Scholar. This most recent summer, Miller was a research assistant and delved into Justice Ginsburg’s story and Supreme Court decisions. He was beyond excited to meet her.
Ginsburg biographer Wendy Williams accompanied Miller to the Supreme Court. As they entered the private areas of the building, Miller was struck by the stately décor of the justices’ offices. Ginsburg’s office in particular fascinated him. The office showcased abstract art alongside photos of Justice Ginsburg during prominent moments in her career. A photo of Justice Ginsburg at her Senate confirmation dominated the room.
More enthralling than her office was Justice Ginsburg herself. Miller found her soft-spoken, yet mesmerizing. He remembers her “regal presence, akin to Maya Angelou”, but relatable enough to make small talk with.
Miller asked Justice Ginsburg about her ‘exceedingly persuasive justification’ defense of Title VII, which requires a very strong argument to justify employment discrimination. “[Other justices] can gut Title VII or the VRA,” replied Justice Ginsburg, “but they can’t get us on the Constitution.” Ginsburg went on to say that she believes her decisions may outlast some laws and continue protecting rights even if the laws are modified.
“I write my opinions to last,” she reiterated.
Professor Wendy Williams interjected during the hour-long meeting to explain what a fan Miller was of Justice Ginsburg. Miller followed up with a statement to Ginsburg that captures not only his conviction as an individual, but also why BleakHouse was proud to name him a Hassine Scholar: “You inspired me to pursue public service. You taught me that anything is possible, even in the face of great obstacles.”
“Good,” said Justice Ginsburg. With the utmost sincerity, she added: “Because it is.” It was a truly memorable meeting for Chris Miller, one he will never forget.