Washburn Law students meet Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Photograph: Sotomayor.About 100 Washburn University School of Law students attended a special appearance by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence, Kansas, on Friday, January 28, 2011. Invitations to the event, "A dialogue with Justice Sotomayor," were limited to students and faculty at Washburn Law and the University of Kansas School of Law and area high school students. Because of high demand, officials set up an overflow location to accommodate interested students. Approximately 300 people were in attendance at the private event.

During the event, Justice Sotomayor answered questions from students and the moderators. Her appearance at the Dole Institute was one of several speaking engagements during her two-day trip to Kansas.

Prior to the main event, 22 student members of the Hispanic American Law Student Associations (HALSA) at Washburn and KU law schools met with Justice Sotomayor. The Justice shared personal experiences with the students and answered questions. She emphasized the value of relationships and networking.

"The meeting with Justice Sotomayor was inspirational and motivated me to continue with my academic and career choice," said Vincent Granado, president of HALSA at Washburn. "Her personal stories were heartfelt, and hearing the story of her childhood hardships and perseverance through life made me proud to be Hispanic. I will remember this day, and if I ever lose course in life, I will think of her," Granado said.

The Justice also met with Washburn University President Jerry Farley, Dean Thomas J. Romig, Associate Dean Alex Glashausser, and officials from KU Law.

David Rubenstein, associate professor of law at Washburn Law, co-moderated the main event and provided a personal introduction of the Justice. Rubenstein clerked for Justice Sotomayor when she was a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Co-moderating the question and answer session with Rubenstein was Professor Stephen McAllister of KU Law. Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute, gave the welcome. The Honorable Eric F. Melgren, U.S. District Judge, discussed the 150th Anniversary of the Courts of the District of Kansas.

Justice Sotomayor became the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice after her Senate confirmation in August 2009. She had served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit for 11 years before her nomination to the highest court by President Obama.

Posted February 1, 2011.