Mike Sacks writes from DC:
My summer's adventure began with a cover letter that began, "My name is Mike Sacks and, sadly, I do not own a Nina Totin'Bag." Well, nearly eight months after I wrote that line, I still do not own the bag, but I did receive the next best thing: The Nina Totinternship.
From mid-May until late July, I was neck-deep in legal journalism and loved every moment of it. For the first month of my internship, my typical days started with going to the Supreme Court to watch the Justices hand down their opinions. We were in the final weeks of the term, but not until the very end did the Court announce their blockbusters. There, sitting in the alcove with other members of the Supreme Court press, I witnessed history being made as the justices issued their sweeping opinions and stinging dissents in the landmark cases of Heller v. District of Columbia and Boumediene v. Bush.
After Chief Justice Roberts banged his gavel for the final time this term, more work remained. Nina and I jumped right into the US District Court for the District of Columbia to cover the first post-Boumediene habeas hearings. There, the judges and lawyers, upon Justice Kennedy's decree, sought to carve procedural paths through Guantanamo's uncharted legal territory.
Although watching history being made on a near-daily basis was exciting, so too was the frenzy that followed: Nina and I would rush back to NPR, where I would help her digest the Court's 100-plus page decisions for a five-minute piece to be aired four hours after reading the opinions' first words. All the while, she and I would be conducting interviews with politicians, professors, lawyers, and experts as NPR's editors and producers polished the piece to perfection.
In the end, no matter what the story, one thing remained constant: Nina's final product always amounted to a true public service.