By Sarah Ford

On October 11, 2016, I was one of twelve military spouse attorneys sworn into the United States Supreme Court, sponsored by Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, also a military spouse.

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MSJDN Members sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court on October 11, 2016, with Judge Millett.

Overall, the entire experience of swearing in to the Supreme Court was awe-inspiring.  However, there was something about the dinner the evening prior and the experience itself that was very self-affirming.  As military spouse attorneys, we spend so much time as the spouse of “Person X.”  At the dinner, each spouse was asked to explain how she had supported the attorney being sworn in the next day.  Instead, each husband doted with pride at the wide-range of accomplishments their military spouse had achieved, while overcoming obstacles out of the norm of other attorneys.  To quote one husband, “I deployed for 22 months, and I came back and she had a law degree.”

The next day, we spent the day as the honored attorneys.  Our professional careers were front and center.  I cannot articulate the energy, happiness, and pride I felt walking in front of the bar at the U.S. Supreme Court, sitting in the third row and swearing into the highest court.   By the time oral arguments started, we were each equals to the attorneys passionately litigating their case before the eight Supreme Court justices.  As a military spouse attorney, I have often felt as though I was playing “catch-up” with my peers, desperately trying to stay out in front until a military move yet again places my career on hold.  In that moment, I felt successful and confident in my accomplishments.  I spoke at length with almost all of the women in our group of twelve.  Military life had impacted their professional careers and informed what they do (or in some cases did not do) now.  But, on October 11, MSJDN reminded us why we are MSJDN.  We are MSJDN because our organization allows us an outlet and space to feel normal, to feel equal, to feel successful, and to realize all the hard work we have strived to achieve.

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MSJDN Members and their spouses at the SCOTUS swearing in on October 11, 2016.

I am beyond grateful to MSJDN and Judge Millett for the opportunity to be sworn into the highest court.  But, it extends beyond this single experience.

MSJDN is a community, where we strive to involve our military spouse attorneys so that they may always feel purposeful and successful and equal.

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