Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Federal Courts & What They Do

Today, my Constitutional Law class was taking a field trip to the United States District for the Southern District of New York to speak with a court justice, and then later sit in for a trial. On the bright side, the entire class day was dedicated to this trip, meaning that today was basically a free day--which was really appreciated after that stressful paper. On the not-so bright side, we had to be ready to leave the school at 8:30 AM, which meant that we had to wake up early. Not only that, but since we were going to a district court, we were required to dress accordinglyHonestly, seeing so many well-dressed kids reminded me of the Ivy League Connection program!

As it turns out, both of our teachers were present for once--Luke took the residential students to the courthouse, whereas Jeffery was already at the there in order to meet up with any commuter students who decided to go ahead of the rest of the class.

While meeting with Justice Nathan, we were asked her questions about why she decided to pursue a career in law, how she acquired her job, and how she carries out her duties as a district court judge. Initially, I was intimated by the idea of meeting with Justice Nathan, but she turned out to be was surprisingly friendly and eager to answer our questions; she was even nice of enough to let us sit in her chair!  Jeffery theorizes that the reason that she's so nice is because she's fairly new to the job and "the years haven't made her bitter yet."

The case that we attended was a criminal case concerning the alleged acts extortion, bribery, fraud by a local politician. I'm actually not sure of whether or not I'm allowed to talk about the exact details of the case outside the courthouse--it's comparably information, after all--but overall, it was a very interesting thing to witness, but at times it seemed to be very drawn out and tedious. By the end of the field trip, we left with a better understanding of the happening of our judiciary branch and more importantly, free brochures and pens! 

Afterwards, we decided to go out to lunch as a class. We ended up eating at a small Chinese restaurant in China Town. Since we were such a large group, it took quite sometime to find a place that could fit all of us--and even then we had to spread ourselves across three tables. I'm proud to announce that my table ended spending the least amount of money, since we shared our meal family style instead of ordering individual plates. One thing that I've learned while in New York is that things here are really expensive, which has taught me to become a lot more cheap. We didn't even break $100!

When lunch was over, we returned back to campus, and then finally dismissed. My day was far from over, however, because Mrs. L had scheduled one final tour for us. 

This time, we were finally touring Columbia. At first, I thought that I was already fairly acquainted with the campus, but I soon found out that I was only familiar with the quad and it's surrounding area--this school is a lot more intricate that I initially thought. Our tour guide was Adriana, who was also one of our guests at our Columbia alumni dinner. Adriana led us through the campus grounds, giving a little tidbits of information along the way. Some of the new areas that I saw were Uris Hall, Furnald Hall, and Avery Hall. 

The rest of the day played out like any other, we me meeting up with the girls for dinner in the dining hall before returning to my dorm room to study.

 Through all of these tours, information sessions, and dinners I've gained both a lot of information and a lot of weight. I'm somewhat sad that our last tour is over, since it means that our entire trip is almost over. I feel as though there are so many things that I'd still like to do, but that there's not enough to do it all--not only because we're leaving soon, but because of school as well. Hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze in one or two more major events before Saturday!

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