While the summer isn't technically over, we do say good-bye to our summer intern Lydia Kotowski this week. She has been a wonderful addition to our team and has brought a new perspective to our work. We are exceedingly grateful for all the ways Lydia has helped move our mission forward this summer. Thank you, Lydia! We asked Lydia to share a bit about herself and her plans for the future. Lydia is a rising-senior in the Ball State University Honors College with a major in political science, a second, self-designed major in health policy, and a minor in economics. During her undergraduate career, Lydia has been named a finalist for the 2019 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a 2019 recipient of the Leadership Scholars Award through The Fund for American Studies, held several officer and leadership positions in the Student Honors Council, and co-led a 15-credit hour, full semester, immersive learning project with an honors college professor through the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Lydia also served a one-year term as a student representative for the Mid-East Honors Association Executive Council and completed three Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowships. Through these fellowships, Lydia conducted research and edited for a book by Dr. Darren Wheeler entitled, Congress and the War on Terror: Making Policy for the Long Run, co-authored an article about terrorism policy under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, and co-authored several articles with Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani about health policy topics including global health spending, electronic health records, syringe exchange programs, and teen dating violence. All articles are under peer-review currently. In the Muncie community, Lydia has taken on a very active role. Starting in January 2018, she helped pilot weekly lessons at the Ross Community Center through the Student Honors Council. Most notably, Lydia and an honors college professor, Dr. Jason Powell, started a nonprofit in December 2018. This nonprofit, called Beneficence Family Scholars, Inc., an affiliate of Family Scholar House, strives to help single-parent families overcome the cycle of poverty in Delaware County, IN community by empowering families to achieve long-term growth and stability through education and comprehensive support. The organization had its official launch on April 26th, 2019, and has started to provide assistance to qualifying families in Delaware County. Lydia currently serves as both President and Chief Possibility Officer. To learn more, visit bfscholars.org. Looking to the future, Lydia plans to complete a joint program and earn both MPH (Master of Public Health) and JD degrees. With this background, Lydia hopes to be able to promote positive change surrounding health policy at both the state and national level. We have been very fortunate to have Lydia's ingenuity and talent hard at work for us this summer. We wish Lydia good fortune as she pursues her future goals.
Washington Council of Lawyers was honored to host A Conversation with Justice Elena Kagan and Dean William Treanor of Georgetown University Law Center on Thursday, July 18, 2019. The conversation began with a discussion about the career of the late Justice John Paul Stevens, whose seat Justice Kagan filled after Justice Stevens retired. Justice Kagan praised Justice Stevens both in his role as a Supreme Court Justice and as an extraordinarily kind man and mentor. Speaking to an audience largely comprised of law school students, public-interest lawyers, and pro bono advocates, Justice Kagan commented on Justice Steven’s commitment to continued learning on the job and his fierce independence. The afternoon’s conversation ranged from discussions about Justice Kagan’s opinions during the Court’s most recent term to the roles of stare decisis and dissenting opinions on today’s Court. She also gave insight into how she works with her colleagues and law clerks when writing her opinions. The afternoon wrapped up with a question and answer session, where one of the students from George Washington University asked about the Court’s recent decision in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, a recent patent opinion concerning the development of a Spiderman toy, which considered the role of stare decisis in the applicable patent laws. Referencing her opinion, which cited to a Spiderman comic book, Justice Kagan reminded the audience “[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility.” The full video of the conversation can be found on C-SPAN. And a collection of news clips about the afternoon can be found at the links below: A Conversation with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan: John Paul Stevens, Gerrymandering, Writing and More (Georgetown Law) Kagan Rallies Gerrymandering Foes To 'Go For It — Because You're Right' (National Law Journal) Justice Kagan discusses Justice Stevens' legacy and more (SCOTUSblog) Kagan Says She Didn't 'Pull Punches' in Gerrymandering Dissent (Bloomberg Law) Justice Elena Kagan Uses Spiderman to warn of Supreme Court's "great responsibility" to follow precedent (CNN) Elena Kagan says she'll "never" accept partisan gerrymandering decision (CBS News) Kagan: I will "never accept" Supreme Court's ruling on partisan gerrymandering (The Hill) Justice Elena Kagan encourages gerrymandering protesters: 'Carry On the Efforts' (Washington Times) Kagan Says Colleagues 'Immodest' In Ignoring Precedent (Law 360) Elena Kagan Says She'll Never Accept Supreme Court's Partisan Gerrymandering Decision (Huffington Post) Justice Kagan Is Supere Peeved Her Colleagues On The Supreme Court No Longer Care About Precedent (Above the Law) Elena Kagan: I will Never Accept Supreme Court's Gerrymandering Decision (Law and Crime) Elena Kagan: 'No Part of Me' Will Accept Gerrymandering Decision (Newsmax)