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Game of Chairs

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It had to be an incredibly exciting day for her.  Of course, “Take your daughter to work” days are always exciting for the children.  They get to watch their mothers and fathers as they engage in the routines that, for the parents, are quite ordinary, but for the children not only fun, but informative.  They may even get some ideas as to what they would like to do when they grow up.

Introduction of “Take your child to work” days began many years ago and has flourished.  It can be found in all walks of life.  As exciting as it is for all children, none can expect to have quite the experience that Ivanka Trump enjoyed on her first “Take your daughter to work” experience. Her daddy not only took her to work after he was sworn in.    He gave her her very own office in the West Wing of the White House.  And that’s not all.  He gave her the authority to hire as many people as she needed to help her as she worked alongside her daddy,  even though she had no idea what she was supposed to do or how to do it.  She even has her very own chief of staff. As exciting as those early days were, nothing could compare with the excitement when her daddy told her he was going to take her on his very big airplane to Hamburg, Germany where she could participate in a meeting of the G-20.  That happened in early July.

The whole time Ivanka was at the G-20 meeting, she was treated like an adult, following her daddy around to social events and meetings.  But the high point of her visit was when her daddy was called away from the table at a meeting of the Group of 20, to have important discussions with other important people. At the table he had been sitting next to President Xi Jinping of China and British Prime Minister Theresa May.  When Ivanka saw that her daddy’s seat was empty she went over and took his seat at the table.  That placed her between two of the most important people in the world and was very exciting for Ivanka.  It is not known whether she had anything to say while seated there, but if she had, everybody would certainly have listened.  She reportedly sat in her daddy’s chair at two other meetings, but, reportedly,  didn’t say anything.  When some people asked her daddy about the protocol of having his daughter take his place at important events when he could not personally be present, he said it was “very standard.” Although Ivanka’s daddy didn’t say this, it’s unlikely that he would have permitted her to take his place at important meetings,  like those at the G-20, had she only been a three or four-year-old, since she would have become fidgety.

It is important not to forget that this new version of “take your daughter to work” day may have many repercussions in Washington, beyond Ivanka.  And the purpose of this column is to give the reader  an example of how this might work in a different branch of the government.  Take for example, the United States Supreme Court.

Neil Gorsuch, the newest appointee to the United States Supreme Court, has two teen age daughters. They are probably every bit as proud of their father as Ivanka is of hers. Thus, just as Ivanka Trump was permitted to sit in for her father at a major international meeting, it does not tax the imagination to contemplate the possibility that the time will come when Justice Gorsuch takes one (or both) of his daughters to “take your daughter to work” day at the United States Supreme Court.  If he decides to follow in the footsteps of Ivanka’s daddy, he may take them on a day when there is a case being heard by the Court that he thinks they would enjoy.  He might even  permit one of them to sit in his chair at the bench next to one of his colleagues. Were Justice Gorsuch to do that, he might explain a bit about the case to the daughter he permits to sit in his chair, so that she can ask intelligent questions of the lawyers who are making their appearances that day.  It would unquestionably be a great learning experience for the daughter, and would make the day memorable, both for her,  and the litigants who appear before her, just as it was a wonderful experience for Ivanka to get to sit with the important people who were at the G-20 meetings.  The only people for whom such episodes were not, or would not be, great experiences, are the citizens of the United States.  They used to think that United States citizens who participate in high level matters affecting the United States and the world, would actually know what they were talking about. Those days are gone forever.

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