W&L attorney Teresa Curtin from New York and 11 other deaf or hard-of-hearing attorneys were sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court bar Tuesday morning, April 19.
The event received national media coverage, with articles appearing in The Washington Post and on Reuters.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., who presided over this historic occasion, surprised the courtroom when he approved of the motion to admit the 12 newcomers, all members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association (DHHBA), in sign language. The Supreme Court later confirmed that the Chief Justice had learned the signs for this specific occasion.
Being admitted into the prestigious U.S. Supreme Court bar authorizes an attorney to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court Justices.
Immediately following the landmark ceremony, Curtin expressed her immense gratitude for the National Association of the Deaf, DHHBA President Anat Maytal and Secretary Sarah Weimer “for their tireless work with the Supreme Court on setting up this event” and for arranging sign language interpreters, and for the first time, allowing attorneys to use cell phones during oral argument for the sole purpose of having access to the oral argument via CART stenographer.
“What we achieved today,” Curtin emphasized, “was a group effort. All of the attorneys who were sworn in today deserve recognition for their outstanding talent and accomplishments.”
Curtin is a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey and the New York University School of Law and clerked for the Hon. Justice Stewart Pollock of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.