"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Friday, March 03, 2006

the dream team

I had a dream a couple nights ago that I was on a pro basketball team, somewhat to my doubt and confusion, as I have never felt especially compelled to play basketball of my own free will. Wasn't a WNBA team either; it was a team with a bunch of guys. In my dream we were having some kind of mixer with the fans. People were greeting me and telling me they were glad I was on the team, though I couldn't imagine that I was a very impressive player. Then while chatting with one of my teammates I happened to recall that there was one other woman on the team. Sandra Day O'Connor.

I guess Justice Ginsburg hasn't worked her way into my subconscious mind yet, despite her now unique position as the only woman on the Court and the second female Justice since the "team" started 216 years ago. I agree that the average of one woman per century seems pretty high, at least in geologic terms.

Before going to law school I confess to general unawareness of who was currently sitting on the Court other than Justices Thomas and O'Connor. I did not mention that detail in my application for admission, but don't think I even realized that I had that gap in my civic education. Once they're appointed they don't make the news very often until they retire or die, or go duck hunting or something. I don't remember ever having read a Supreme Court opinion other than very brief quotes, or for that matter any court opinion, before law school. You can see where the "well, how did I get here?" element of my dream could have come from.

In fairness to myself, though, the vast preponderance of judicial opinions are way, way off the radar of English majors and other people who consider themselves English speakers. However, it still might be nice if kids in public schools and undergraduate institutions were briefly required at least to try to read some Supreme Court opinions, as it might lead to realization that, not only are there three branches of government, but the branches are intended to prevent and/or undo one another's grotesque errors and abuses of power, and when they don't do that we're supposed to be upset, even if we may not all agree on what we're upset about. We can dissent and still be on the team.

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