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Making Waves and Riding the Currents by Charles Halpern

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9

1AWAKENING

I STEPPED INTO the main entrance of the federal district courthouse, a sterile modern building facing the manicured lawn of the Mall, between the Capitol and the White House in the heart of official Washington. I greeted the guard by name as I walked through the green marble lobby. “How ya doin’ Mr. Hapner? Nice to see you back,” he said.

“I’ve got a big case in district court this morning,” I said, as breezily as I could manage, as if I had trials and arguments in the courthouse every day. Just two years earlier, in 1965, I had been a law clerk in this same building, my first job out of law school, doing research and drafting opinions and memoranda for an appellate judge. Today I was returning, dressed in my gray pin-striped suit, ...

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