Thomas Griffith, a former stake president and institute teacher of mine, showed up at UC Law yesterday. He's a judge on the DC Court of Appeals--which means that he's probably the most powerful LDS judge out there. The DC Court of Appeals is often called the second highest court in the country because they hear a lot of high-profile cases, including some of the more important federal cases.
A former professor of mine worked for Judge Griffith, and I'm guessing that's how the law school managed to get him as a visitor. He'll stay for a total of three days, sitting in classes, meeting with students and faculty, and giving presentations. Yesterday he talked to first-year students, today he came to one of my classes and spoke to a large group of students and professors during lunch, and tomorrow he'll meet with five of the seven LDS students (the other two had emergencies come up and will be out of town). His days here are busy--his schedule is packed with various activities.
I've been surprised about a number of things.
First, he's a very funny person. His institute class was more serious (and also the best institute class I ever attended). Here, he's constantly making jokes. He's also very insightful. The students love him. The applause he got today was the most applause I've heard all semester.
He's very animated. He's small, so perhaps the animation is a way to make up for that.
He's not afraid to make references to his faith. He doesn't preach, but when mentioning great writers, he mentioned C.S. Lewis. (I like C.S. Lewis, although personally I would say he's a great thinker and a good writer, and not a great writer). He made other small references to belief in God, being Christian, and his disagreement of Roe v. Wade (although he says that as a judge, he made an oath to uphold the law, and it's law, so he would uphold it in court).
His visit is a very positive thing for the LDS students at the school. My friends, even the very liberal ones, have been impressed, and the seven LDS students have a great example of how a good LDS attorney should act.