Zainab Alkebsi, J.D. ’12, policy counsel for the National Association of the Deaf, was among 13 members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association (DHHBA) sworn in to the Supreme Court Bar on Tuesday, April 19, 2016.
John F. Stanton, an appellate lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice and a member of DHHBA, introduced the deaf or hard-of-hearing lawyers and vouched for their qualifications for the Supreme Court Bar, according to a SCOTUSblog post by Mark Walsh.
When Stanton finished his presentation, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “moved his arm broadly into a stamping gesture” in American Sign Language as he proclaimed that Stanton’s motion was granted and that the lawyers would be admitted to the bar, Walsh wrote.
The court’s public information office said Roberts had learned the sign specifically for the ceremony, Walsh reported.
In a news release on the DHHBA website, Anat Maytal, president of the bar association and a litigation associate at Baker Hostetler LLP, said: “We are truly honored to be admitted to the Supreme Court Bar. Our admission sets a precedent that will hopefully encourage others with disabilities to pursue a legal career and view the legal profession as being open to diverse backgrounds.”