Back to News & Commentary

A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Mukasey Hearing

Jackie Saffir,
Washington Legislative Office
Share This Page
July 24, 2008

After spending Tuesday evening packing eight weeks worth of stuff, I woke up early today to start my last day at the Washington Legislative Office of the ACLU. It was my job to go to the House Judiciary Committee with a pile of press releases for the Mukasey hearing. I got dressed in the only outfit I hadn’t packed: a pink sweater and slacks before catching the metro to Rayburn.

Though Francine, another communications intern, and I arrived 45 minutes before the hearing was scheduled to begin, we joined a long line. At previous hearings, we had encountered protesters of all sorts in costumes, T-shirts with political positions, and even orange jumpsuits. Today the line had a large blob of hot pink. There were 5-10 Code Pink women with hot pink shirts reading “I heart justice” or “I heart peace.” Within the first 15 minutes they had already shouted at two people who walked down the Rayburn hallway. It was clear they weren’t the quiet type.

At around 10 a.m., a committee staffer informed us that for this hearing there were going to be strict rules. We were told that no disruptive behavior would be permitted and a dress code that would be strictly enforced. No clothing “taking a position” was allowed. We were informed that those of us not in compliance could turn our shirts inside out.

As the doors to the hearing room opened, we were stopped while many of the Code Pink women turned their shirts inside-out. One of them began to take her shirt off despite the fact that she was not wearing anything underneath. The staffers were not pleased. Francine and I were some of the last to squeeze in and ended up in seats right behind the Code Pink women.

I looked at the clock and realized that I had a few quick minutes to hand out press releases. I headed over to the only committee staffer in sight.

“Can you direct me to the communications director?” I asked.

He glanced around the room. “He’s not here.” I was about to ask when he would arrive, or what his name was when the staffer looked at my sweater. It was hot pink, the same shade as the Code Pink women. After the Committee staffers experience with the Code Pink women so far, the look on his face turned stony. He thought that I too was trying to play a game with him. He sternly told me, “Go sit down. Now.” I returned to my seat just as the hearing started, defeated and unable to perform my last ACLU job of the summer.

All and all it was a fun and interesting summer. My duties as an ACLU intern have taught me about writing, working as part of a team, and thriving in a fast-paced environment. But I guess I was fated for one last lesson. As a woman in the hearing room later told me, “You just don’t wear hot pink on the hill.”