February 6, 2001

Cornellian Interns at Supreme Court

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While Cornell students are hustling and bustling about campus, arranging their schedules and picking their classes, Andrew Janis ’02 roams our nation’s halls of justice. As a Supreme Court intern, Janus summarizes articles on federal judicial issues, hosts foreign diplomats and observes oral arguments.

“I was already planning on doing the Cornell-in-Washington program … I heard about the internship from a friend and then I just started calling and getting more information,” he said.

According to Janis, the application process included an essay about the constitutional system, a personal statement, recommendations and a formal transcript.

“It was about twenty pages when I put it all together,” Janis commented.

Although hundreds apply each year, only two students are selected to participate in the internship program.

“We look for students with a strong academic background, keen writing and research skills, someone who works well with others, shows maturity and can switch back and forth between different tasks,” said Dr. Barry Ryan, judicial fellow in the office of the administrative assistant to the Chief Justice.

After numerous phone interviews, the Ithaca High School graduate was notified that he won the internship.

“When virtually everyone told him he didn’t have a chance, Andrew persevered in applying for the internship, preparing a splendid application and doing a considerable amount of research for his interview,” said Prof. Glenn Altschuler, government, Janis’ faculty advisor.

On a typical day, Janis spends three hours reading The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post scanning for articles with judicial and federal content.

“Our office hosts foreign diplomats regularly too,” Janis said. “Part of my responsibility is to prepare and learn about their background and the judicial system of that country.”

“The internship program runs fall, spring and summer and has existed for about twenty-five years,” Ryan said.

His own internship will run until June 1, according to Janis.

In previous years, only two other Cornellians have served as interns at the Supreme Court.

Prof. Jeremy A. Rabkin ’74, government, earned a position as an intern in the Burger Court. Yuri Pawluk ’01, served as an intern there last year.

“Yuri gave me a lot of helpful information,” Janis said. “He and I met a couple of times, and I was able to able to ask him plenty of questions about the program.”

Archived article by Tanvi Chheda