Special Guest Melissa Sherry

Special Guest Visits Monmouth Political Science Class

Students in Professor Reinhart’s Constitutional Law class last Friday, Oct. 21, were fortunate to receive a visit from Melissa Arbus Sherry— a former clerk for the Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens, who was hired as Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States by Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan. Stevens has argued ten cases in front of the Supreme Court of the United States. Reinhart, a lawyer himself, specialist professor, and Director of the Kislack Real Estate Institute at Monmouth, was able to get the high profile lawyer to visit campus.

Sherry, who grew up in nearby Ocean Township, received a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, discussed her experiences working with the highest court of the country. Sherry shared about her experiences and the hard work that included putting herself though law school, reading through thousands of petitions for the Court as a clerk for Justice Stevens from 2004 to 2005, and the preparation that goes along with arguing in front of the Supreme Court. From her experience in front of the Court, the United States v. Castleman case of 2014 was among the most notable cases that she argued and won. She said, “Castleman was my favorite case” and “we felt very good about the outcome.”

In addition to sharing about all of the hard work, she also shared some interesting and light-hearted experience about the Supreme Court. For example, she shared that Justice Stevens, who is 96 years old, was an avid tennis player until one year ago. She said, “I made the mistake of mentioning that I played in high school.” He then asked her if she wanted to play. Although Sherry tried as hard as she could and did not take it easier on the older Justice Stevens, she admitted, “He beat me really bad.” The funny story was actually reported on by Bloomberg News.

She also told the class that there is a basketball court on the top floor of the Supreme Court. She said it is called, “the highest court in the land.” She also mentioned that while on the Court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was an avid aerobics practicer. Sherry said that she would like to have gone to a class, but “Justice O’Connor would take offense if someone only went once and didn’t go again.” She also said about Justice Clarence Thomas, “Despite the legal differences I have with him, he is one of the easiest people to talk to.”

Overall, Sherry’s visit to the University Constitutional Law class was extremely informative and entertaining.