Summer … with its unabated freedom, bare feet, swimming, summer camp and warm sun … is the season most kids dream of. It’s time to enjoy being a kid.
This summer I became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Hold the phone. Seems I’ve just achieved my life-goal at age 16. That’s rather anti-climactic! But, I’d like to explain the difference. My life ambition is to one day be a member of the United States Supreme Court, and this summer I became the Chief Justice of the California Girls State Supreme Court. It was an exciting road to travel at the 2013 California Girls State, an American Legion Auxiliary event.
I’ve always known that my heart belongs to the Constitution, (which my dad is grateful for, as it delays the “dating” component, for a while) and my goals lie in defending it. When I was selected to be the delegate from my school to attend Girls State, I didn’t know much about the program, except it was a “life-changing” event educating young women in the workings of government. Five-hundred girls from around the state attended. Girls then made up “cities” of roughly 30 citizens, and 4 cities would become one of 4 counties, and those counties made up Girls State. We were tasked with running our cities – taking part in city government. We held elections for positions, and similar positions at county and state. At the end of the week, we elected our own state officials.
Something about the girls at Girls State — we are an interesting lot: respectful, kind and ambitious. Each girl had some sort of plan entering the week, I’m sure — from being the chairwoman of the Steering Committee, to understanding the voting process or possibly to gain new insight into the exceptional nature of strong young women. Mine was set in stone the minute I saw the list of positions. I was going to be a justice! But before that, I wanted the experience so I could be best equipped for the position. After meeting the girls in my city, I realized that I was going to be have a fantastic week!
I started my political career as Acting Mayor. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all the girls and organizing activities. I didn’t want to run for Mayor because the position of Supreme Court Justice seemed ever more enticing. I was also a member of the steering committee for the political party of “Whigs” (The parties were not Republican or Democrat, rather less-government or more-government.). As a member of the steering committee, I helped encourage the 250 girls in my party to get excited about the platform that they set to create.
On Thursday we signed up and then, campaigned for state-elected positions. I also found a shiny penny – lying heads up. I took that as a little sign; I knew it was going to be a good campaign. Rather than being appointed by the Governor, the Supreme Court justices run for their positions. That meant, I had some work to do!
I gave my first speech in the primaries, citing my “addiction” to the Constitution as grounds for my election, and explaining how studying previous cases is a passion of mine. Someone asked a spontaneous question: what source would I, the candidate, use in order to interpret the Constitution? I responded that I would use first documentation of the Founding Fathers, in order to understand their reasoning for every word of the Constitution. After receiving the news that I placed in the top 9 places for justices, I immediately started working on my next speech. I thought I had planned perfectly and even rehearsed, but of course, the moment I got in front of everyone, the plan disappeared, and a new one had to be enacted. Justices must be quick thinkers. And, boom, I was off! Referencing the past speech, I continued to elaborate on the duties of a justice. I explained how besides being unbiased, there is a need to research above and beyond what the attorneys present.
I won! Receiving the most votes, I held the position of Supreme Court Chief Justice of California Girls State 2013. The case centered on the constitutionality of prayer during a public school’s graduation. I must say, it was pretty fun wearing the gown and wielding the gavel. So, now, when I’m asked what did I do this summer, my response will be … “I began to travel the road to becoming a Supreme Court Justice.”