Norton’s Remarks at Georgetown University Law Center Dedication

Apr 23, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released Norton’s remarks at the Georgetown University Law Center groundbreaking of a proposed installation honoring Norton’s career in public service, civil rights advocacy, and pioneering work representing women in the workplace. Norton was a full-time tenured professor of the law school before being elected.  Even after her election, Norton taught a seminar entitled Law Making and Statutory Construction (House Rules permit part-time teaching by Members).

The ceremony included remarks from District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, Georgetown University President John DeGioia, Georgetown University Law Center Dean William Treanor, and Norton, followed by the groundbreaking and unveiling of the proposed installation.

Norton’s full remarks are below:

“In Congress, I spend a fair amount of my time honoring, recognizing, saluting, and loving my constituents, institutions, and organizations of every kind.  I write about them in the congressional record, in letters of congratulations, of sympathy, and even empathy.  I have no trouble writing these remarks or statements. All I have to do is think about what I know of them or have learned about them.

“That’s why I got stuck thinking about what to say today. Stuck because the Georgetown University Law Center has already not only awarded me an honorary degree but has also given me the honor of delivering the commencement address just last year.  Stuck because Georgetown has already recognized me when I was awarded tenure, a prize without equal, or as I often told my students – it was harder to get tenure than it was to get elected to Congress.  Stuck because Georgetown has already afforded me incomparable intellectual stimulation, when I engaged in frequent Socratic fun with some of the best students in the country, teaching Labor law, Employment law, and Negotiation for Lawyers.  Stuck because Georgetown, after I was elected to Congress, permitted me to continue teaching on a part-time schedule consistent with my congressional duties, assuring continued exercise of my brain – which is not always guaranteed by service in the House of Representatives.

“So, I’m stuck. But that doesn’t keep me from being grateful.  Grateful for the creative way you have chosen to recognize me.  Grateful for the deep thoughtfulness that went into the design of the installation.  Grateful that my association with the law school and the law will not be forgotten.  Grateful to offer my appreciation, and that of my son, John and his wife, Tiffany, and my two grandchildren, Justin and Brendan.  Grateful to say the words that have no equal – thank you.”