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Students Join Business Law Professor in Witnessing Supreme Court Arguments in Washington, D.C.

December 15, 2009
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Supreme CourtTwo University of Miami students including one from the School of Business, along with one of the School’s professors, had the rare opportunity this month to see the U.S. Supreme Court in action. The visit to hear two key cases involving federal anti-corruption law was made possible by UM Trustee Adrienne Arsht, a benefactor of UM’s Ethics Programs, who helped obtain the tickets.

“It was truly a rock concert for nerds,” said Cava, an associate professor of business law, the director of the School’s Business Ethics Program and a co-director of UM Ethics Programs. “We are so grateful to Ms. Adrienne Arsht for our reserved seats in the front row.”  

The nation’s high court held arguments in two high-profile cases involving the “honest services fraud” statute, a controversial law used by federal prosecutors to reduce public and private corruption.  Robert Levine, an accounting, economics and finance major, had worked with Cava on research to analyze the statute’s constitutionality.

“The experience I had at the Supreme Court was not only inspirational, it was educational in that we saw the inner workings of our legal system and the culmination of hard work and effort,” said Levine, a junior.  “It was so exciting to see the arguments being made and the justices asking questions, shedding a great deal of light on the research I did during the summer.”  

“Experiencing the process of justice first-hand was a truly powerful experience,” added senior Ashley Carnes, an international relations major who also watched the arguments. “I am forever grateful for the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom in such a meaningful way."

Levine and Carnes are members of the UM team that has advanced to the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl finals in Cincinnati in February.

“When I realized that the two honest services fraud cases were rescheduled to reading period, I jumped at the chance to go,” said Cava, a public interest lawyer, of her first opportunity to observe a full Supreme Court argument.  

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