Vacation for the Honorable, and an Honor for Us

By: Brett Becker (JD, ’14)

Grapes were cleaned, wine was poured, crackers and cheese were assembled and the place looked elegant at Wake Forest University’s Flow House in the First District of Vienna. We had prepared a delightful feast for our guests soon to arrive. First came the Dean of the Law School Blake Morant and his wife, and then came Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The welcome reception proved successful as the Supreme Court Justice took little time to acquaint herself with her students for the week. The bulk of the evening consisted of eager minds gathered around their famed guest taking in stories and asking pressing questions. Justice Ginsburg not only welcomed questions, but also responded with showmanship and clarity. She provided stories and insight that captivated both American and Austrian students the entire evening.

Professor Schneider and Professor Marsh introduce Justice Ginsburg at the Flow House

For two days of class, Justice Ginsburg reverted to her earlier profession of law professor and took to molding the clay of young legal minds. She gave insight into Supreme Court procedures, oral arguments, and the recent high profile decisions of the last term. The details left out of newspapers and the evening news over the last few months were provided by our first-hand source. It was clear to everyone in the room that Justice Ginsburg loved being back in a classroom and enjoyed engaging with law students.

Justice Ginsburg carried a heavy schedule throughout the week, and in doing so, the students did as well. As she went out to eat lunch and visit museums, she invited students to join her. On Wednesday afternoon, an Austrian student and myself accompanied Justice Ginsburg to the Secession and Wien museums. 2012 marks the Jubilee year of the famed Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Being the cultured woman she is, Justice Ginsburg was well versed in the works of Gustav Klimt and took the role of tour guide for the afternoon.  Her passion for the art on display in these museums invoked me to visit the Belvedere Palace and Leopold Museum later in the week to see the rest of Klimt’s works on display in Vienna. He works are both unique and insightful as they have been drawing large crowds all month long around the city.