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Freethought Today · Vol. 27 No. 6 August 2010

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

Meet a Legal Intern: Sam Grover

Name: Sam I am — Samuel actually — after my father’s childhood pet dog, not any biblical figure. My last name, Grover, is also not from the bible (or “Sesame Street”).
Where I was born: In Massachusetts, but my home has always been in Vermont. My mother, Pat, and my father, Bill, had the good sense to give me a younger brother, Luke, who just graduated from college this spring. I graduated from Wesleyan University in 2008, and I’m enrolled in the Boston University School of Law, going into year two of a three-year program.
How I came to work as an FFRF legal intern: My law school education brought me to Madison, Wis., and into FFRF’s hospitable arms in June. I’ve always had a deep fascination with the influence of religion on politics and society. So when BU informed me that I needed to take on a summer legal internship, state-church separation and the Establishment Clause immediately crossed my mind. When I found out that FFRF was located in the awesome city of Madison, a place I’d heard so much about but never had the chance to visit, I knew I had to apply.
What I like best about it: Neither Madison nor FFRF has disappointed me in the least. FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert has given me a wide assortment of legal topics to research, and I’ve drafted letters of complaint on everything from prayer at government meetings to religious use of public libraries to school-sponsored baccalaureate services. It seems like there is a never-ending stream of new complaints coming in. I’ve had plenty on my plate since day one.
That’s not a figure of speech, either. I’ve eaten a considerable number of baked goods and other delicious food while working here. I’d say that Dan’s impromptu piano playing and Annie Laurie’s fruit tart adequately sum up the office atmosphere.
My legal interests are: Graduating, passing the bar and getting a good job in the legal field, which for me means a job where I can institute positive, lasting effects on the world (or a subsection thereof). My primary interest is constitutional law, specifically First Amendment freedoms. But I see great merit in a variety of public interest legal work, including education law, racial and LGBT rights, reproductive justice and environmental law. I expect that I could live happily working in any of those fields and probably many others.
My legal hero: Former Justice Unity Dow of the High Court of Botswana. Before becoming a justice, she fought a four-year legal battle to overturn Botswana’s sexist laws on citizenship. The laws prevented her children from being recognized as citizens of Botswana, their home country, because their father is American. In 2008, I had the honor of working under Dow at her home in Mochudi. She’s a terrific person, an inspiration to young women around the world and a powerful legal figure in Botswana. She left the court last year to teach and practice privately. She’s also written five novels.
These three words sum me up: At 6 foot 6, “tall” definitely makes the list. I’ve given great thought to the other two and have decided on “perfect” and “humble.”
Things I like: Political activism, philosophical debate, all forms of physical activity (especially basketball and track), and games that involve spatial intelligence (especially chess).
Things I smite: Proofs for the existence of God, intolerance and those who don’t recycle. It’s a short list. I’m not fond of smiting.

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