Welcome to my workplace. Today is the midpoint of a taxing sitting period. On Monday, we heard argument on whether Virginia engaged in unconstitutional racial classification in the redistricting plan it adopted in 2012 for congressional elections. On Tuesday, we considered whether Puerto Rico, barred by the Bankruptcy Code from recourse to Chapter 9, can restructure municipal debt under its own Recovery Act. And yesterday, we faced the question whether religious nonprofit organizations are shielded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act from filing a form that would enable their employees to obtain health insurance coverage for contraceptive services. Plus several other weighty cases consume this week and the next one.
Even so, I couldn’t resist being your host tonight, for the Pro Bono Institute, and the lawyers devoted to its mission, play a vital role in promoting a legal system open and accessible to all. Without Government prodding, you have taken the initiative to serve those without the wherewithal to pay for legal assistance. Your compensation is not monetary, but the large satisfaction one gains from helping to repair tears in society, making people’s lot a little better because of one’s aid.
It has been a pleasure to see the Institute grow in capacity, making founder Esther Lardent’s once distant dream a current reality. Let’s hope Esther can be with us at next year’s gathering.
My cheers to everyone here on the Institute’s 20th Anniversary, and my best wishes for the good work PBI will undertake in the decades ahead.