Thursday, May 1, 2008

Supreme Court cyclist

I'd heard that Walter Dellinger, a constitutional law professor and leading Supreme Court advocate, often biked to the court when he would argue cases. So when the DC gun-control case went before the court, a case Delllinger would argue, I emailed him the day before oral arguments to ask whether he might be biking the next day, and whether I could take some photos.

Dellinger called me just minutes after I sent the email. I was suprised - lawyers preparing for a Supreme Court case often go into a special intense preparation zone in the days or weeks before arguments, somewhat like a presidential candidate before a debate. Maybe Dellinger, always gracious, was glad for the diversion. But he said he'd be glad to work with me, and we agreed to meet outside his office early the next morning.

The photography was a blast. I'd photograph him pedaling, then hop on my own bike and speed ahead to get positioned for the next shot. I've never raced someone up Capitol Hill before for a photo. (I was doing maybe 2.5 mph up the Hill, just ahead of Dellinger's 2.25.)

The photos have run in publications from DC to San Francisco, and several blogs too. Now Dellinger and his unusual Supreme Court pre-game warmup have made, along with an excellent interview/story by David L'Heureux. It's worth checking out just for the tale of how Janet Reno once found a forceful way to make sure Dellinger used a bike helmet. See the story at:,6610,s-3-583-17104-1,00.html.

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