Justice Roberts at NCCU law school event

Staff WriterApril 15, 2009 

— Dominique Williams realized that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is really just a regular guy during a chance meeting at the front door to N.C. Central University's law school on Tuesday morning.

Williams, a third-year law student participating in a moot court competition, arrived at the same time as Roberts, who was in town to preside over the competition.

"He opened the door, not only for me, but for the people with him," said Williams, 29, a native of Halifax County. "That really helped me relax. Not only is he the chief justice, he's a person. I felt as if I was talking to one of my professors."

And apparently, even the nation's chief justice isn't above some small talk.

"He opened the door and was like, 'nice weather!' " Williams recounted.

Inside a packed courtroom, Williams and five other NCCU law students had their first experience arguing a case before a member of the U.S. Supreme Court. Moot court competitions give law students practice arguing cases on appeal, and Roberts was one of three judges to grill students on their arguments.

Tuesday's competition was closed to the public and the press. Williams recounted that Roberts chimed in from time to time and also posed several hypothetical situations, an attempt to get the students thinking.

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