Today I Was Sworn Into The Supreme Court (of Virginia)

December 5th, 2012

On October 16, 2009, moments after I found out that I passed the Virginia Bar, I excitedly blogged, “SCOTUS Bar Countdown: Only 1094 days until CJ Roberts welcomes me to Supreme Court Bar!”

 In 3 years, I will be eligible, right in time for the October 2012 term!

I am seriously considering skipping the swearing ceremony in Richmond, but I will not miss my debut at 1 First St. NE.

Well, more than three years later, I’m still not a member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I shouldn’t have skipped the swearing ceremony in Richmond back in 2009.

Supreme Court Rule 5.1 provides:

1. To qualify for admission to the Bar of this Court, an applicant must have been admitted to practice in the highest court of a State, Commonwealth, Territory or Possession, or the District of Columbia for a period of at least three years immediately before the date of application; must not have been the subject of any adverse disciplinary action pro­ nounced or in effect during that 3-year period; and must ap­ pear to the Court to be of good moral and professional character.

When I scheduled my talk on Monday at GULC, I checked to see if SCOTUS was in in session that day. Perfect I thought. Get sworn in in the morning, give my talk in the afternoon.

But when I called the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, I was kindly informed that I first had to be sworn in at the Virginia Supreme Court.

So, misunderstanding on my part. I was admitted to the Virginia State Bar, which bills itself as an “Agency of the Virginia Supreme Court.” The huge bar license hanging on my wall (thanks Mom!) says it is from the Virginia Supreme Court. By all measures, I assumed, by virtue of passage, I had been “admitted to practice in the highest court of” the Commonwealth. I knew that in order to actually appear before  the Supreme Court, or other courts in the Commonwealth, one had to be sworn in. But I didn’t realize that being admitted to the Virginia State Bar, which itself was part of the Virginia Supreme Court, was separate from being admitted by the Supreme Court itself. My bad. I really should’ve checked this sooner.

Fortunately, today the Virginia State Bar held a makeup swearing in session for those affected by Superstorm Sandy (thanks Cara for telling me about it!). I extended my trip by one day (I was supposed to fly home last night). This morning, I took the Amtrak to Richmond, sneaked in a tour of the Virginia Capitol, John Marshall House, and the Louis Powell Federal Courthouse (constitutional places pictures to come later), and attended the ceremony.  Congratulations to all my new fellow colleagues of the bar.

Now, without a doubt, I “have been admitted to practice in the highest court” in Virginia.

Only three more years to go. OT 2015, watch out 1 First Street NE!

Here is the pic from the ceremony, as I write from the Richmond International Airport Applebees.