Attorney David Codell is Visiting Arnold D. Kassoy Senior Scholar of Law and Legal Director at the Williams Institute at UCLA. Before participating in a panel on the future of marriage rights for same-sex couples, he told his funniest story about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—for whom he clerked—in the Zócalo green room.
What’s your favorite flower?
What superpower would you most like to have?
What dessert do you find impossible to resist?
Key lime pie.
Is there anything you always do the night before a trial begins?
Sleep … panic.
What’s the first line of your obituary?
September 1, 2068. Attorney David Codell died today at the age of 100.
Where and when did you learn how to swim?
I learned how to swim in North Palm Beach, Florida, when I was in first grade at my friend Julie’s house.
What’s your best Justice Ginsburg story?
There was a humorous incident when I was clerking. Justice Ginsburg took her law clerks to a museum opening. And a woman who was attending vaguely recognized Justice Ginsburg, and kept trying to figure out if it was Justice Ginsburg. Justice Ginsburg politely answered each of her questions, and she never figured out who Justice Ginsburg was …
What teacher or professor changed your life, if any?
Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, who permitted me to work for him as a research assistant during law school and then hired me as a lawyer a few years after I graduated. Together we practiced constitutional law.
What was the last thing that inspired you?
A wedding that I attended the Monday after the Court of Appeals lifted a stay and said same-sex couples could marry in California again.
When you turn on the television at your house, what channel is most likely to be on?
MSNBC or Comedy Central.