When I told my boss I was taking con law this semester he practically beamed. He told me it was his favorite class and that he never forgot some of those lectures. Every time we talk about law school he mentions the day his con law class discussed Marbury v. Madison. I’ve been hearing this story for a while now. You know how old people can be? Telling the same damn stories over and over. So anyways, I was pretty excited to read this case and hear what my professor had to say about it. Little did I know that I too would never forget the day I learned about Marbury v. Madison.
My professor in con law is awesome. I can tell she is tough, but she’s also really passionate and animated. She mentioned on the first day that she knew we’d have trouble deciphering the cases. Especially the ones written 200 years ago. The cases are complicated and practically written in German. She’s also one of those professors that randomly calls on students to brief cases and makes us stand while we endure the briefing.
I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now, but I was the random person called on in class to brief the very first case of the semester, Marbuy v. Madison. Oye. I had read the case, a few online sources, and briefs, but I was still pretty unsure about the whole meaning of it. I mean, I got the gist, but I didn’t think I could talk about it for long. Well, I stood in class for almost 45 minutes answering questions and discussing the case with her. I had no idea we’d go that in-depth about it. And believe me I was pulling stuff out of my ass to answer some of her questions. We got into legal reasoning I had never even thought of while reading the case. I stumbled a lot and was thinking a mile a minute while brain-dead at the same time. I’ve briefed many cases in other classes, but they were nothing like this. We didn’t even get through the whole case. We still have one more issue to get through and I’m pretty sure I’ll be standing up again until the case has been beaten to death.
When class ended I slumped into my chair. My hands were shaking and I was in shock that I could still breathe. Dramatic, yes, but come on…scary! My friend who sits next to me just kept saying “you did great; you did great; it’s over now.” And then something funny happened. A ton of people started coming up to me and telling me how great I did. I was getting relieved smiles (because they hadn’t been the one picked) and I started to feel pretty good. I mean, I didn’t pass out or completely say the wrong thing. I survived!
When I got home that night I had a text message from another friend in class telling me how well I handled the case. And then yesterday, I’m not kidding at least ten people came up to me saying that I did a great job. I know they were mostly relieved that it hadn’t been them, but it really felt good. I know I didn’t know everything the professor asked. I seriously did not even fully understand the case before the lecture. But I stood up there and didn’t falter. And that felt good.
While I may have to stand up again tonight to finish the case, I will be so happy to go to class now not worrying whether or not my name will be called. Going first does have its advantages! And now when I’m an old lawyer recalling the good ol days of law school, I will have my very own Marbury v. Madison story to tell.