Breathless on the Steps of the Supreme Court

By Kate Brightwell

Only few occasions in my life have I been rendered truly speechless. However, standing on the steps of the Supreme Court, words escaped me. Even now, as I am writing this blog, I am having trouble putting to words what I felt while standing before the statue of John Marshall.

And this was just the beginning.

As I ventured through the exhibits on the first floor, tears began to well in my eyes. I was definitely not expecting this. Then, as I turned the corner to the Sandra Day O’Connor exhibit, I was knocked breathless by the enormity of what she accomplished.


Me at the Supreme Court staring in awe. Photo credit- Katie Allen

Before I was able to regain my breath, I walked up to courtroom and stood in awe, staring in at the chairs that have witnessed decisions that changed our country. I thought about the landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and many more that have fundamentally changed how we live and who we are as a nation. Finally, I thought about what this court has done for the rights of people all around the nation in my lifetime- from the ruling of Proposition 8 as unconstitutional to the decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. These decisions affected millions of people

This might have been when the real tears started…I was not expecting for this building to have such an effect on me, but as I was thinking about the changes that have happened during my lifetime alone, I felt extremely humbled.

Everyday in Washington D.C. surprises me, and I am constantly in awe of the powerful presence around me.

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