On Wednesday January 17, 2018, eleven members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association (DHHBA) will be sworn in and admitted to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. All members are deaf or hard of hearing attorneys. The participants are:
- Melissa Kubit Angelides, Assistant Director of Career Development, St. John’s University School of Law
- Jonathan Berger, Attorney at Levisohn Berger LLP
- David Berke, Senior Counsel, Chamberlin & Keaster LLP
- Anna Bitencourt, Staff Attorney, National Association of the Deaf
- Lisa Bothwell, Disability Integration Advisor, Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Malicia Hitch, General Attorney, Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education
- Ralph G. Reiser, New York Solo Practitioner
- Barry Solomon, Maryland Solo Practitioner
- Mark Sorokin, Trial Attorney, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Amanda Upson, Volunteer Attorney, Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and Film Producer, Magnum Opus
- Sarah Weimer, Attorney-Advisor, U.S. Department of Defense
This occasion will mark the second time DHHBA participates in the group swearing-in ceremony that occurs most days the U.S. Supreme Court is in session. The Supreme Court will provide sign language interpreters and real-time captioning services (also known as Communication Access Realtime Translation, or CART) to DHHBA participants.
Anat Maytal, President of DHHBA and a litigation associate at Baker Hostetler LLP, was part of the previous ceremony that took place on April 19, 2016, and will be making the motion to admit the eleven members. She stated, “It is truly an honor for our members to be admitted to the Supreme Court Bar. The return of DHHBA to the Supreme Court is important to demonstrate that our numbers are only growing, and to continue encouraging other individuals with disabilities to pursue legal careers.”
It is customary for attorneys to be admitted to the Supreme Court Bar with a group, such as a professional organization or a group of university alumni. At the ceremony, an attorney who is already a member of Supreme Court Bar vouches for the group of prospective members, and Chief Justice John Roberts then welcomes them before they swear to support the Constitution. Supreme Court Bar admission allows attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court. Admission is only granted if an attorney is sponsored by two current members of the Supreme Court Bar and has been an attorney in good standing for at least three years.