I never tell my clients about our meeting at the National Gallery. I was a clerk for Judge Robert Wilkins, whose court was in the same federal court as Judge Jackson at the time. She and I met at a dinner party years ago, and when she found out I was working in the building, she graciously invited me to lunch. The observers who watched us cross Pennsylvania Avenue from the courthouse that day would never have known that Judge Jackson didn’t have all the time in the world. Petite but larger than life, she appears in my memory in judicial robes, although she is actually wearing a flowing black cape. One-on-one, she greets you with the same big smile and warm personality the country already knows.
But instead of answering a barrage of questions about herself at the hearing, at our lunch, she just wanted to Hear about me – my family, my law school experience, my career plans. There’s something interesting about the way she asks “what do you really want to do?” It made me feel like any path would be open to me. Her kindness and enthusiasm make this huge café crowded with tourists seem small and intimate. When we finally got up to leave, I felt light on my feet and filled with new energy. Maybe this is hope.
IN THIS STORY: Makeup, Sharon Richmond.