When Law School Dean Evan Caminker makes a decision in one his classrooms, his orders are usually followed to the tee. Except, of course, when the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court also happens to be in the room.

It all started when Caminker was showing Chief Justice John Roberts around the Law School as part of Roberts’s visit to honor the 150th anniversary of the school.

After visiting with a class for some time, Caminker told Roberts he only had time for one more question, according to an e-mail from Law School student Jordan Peterson, who was in the class.

“After taking one more question, without missing a beat, Roberts responded to all of us, ‘The great thing about being chief justice is that you can overrule the dean. I can do another question or two before we go,’” Peterson recounted in the e-mail.

The chief justice is spending the weekend in Ann Arbor to participate in the groundbreaking of the Law School’s new academic building, interact with students and take part in other activities — including attending the Notre Dame game at the Big House.

As part of his visit, Roberts stopped by the Law School facilities yesterday and dropped in on Prof. William Miller’s property law class.

Students in the class began wondering what was going on when the “big men in suits” started filing in to the back of the classroom, according to Law School student Adam Weiner.

In an e-mail, Weiner said one of his friends turned to him and said, “Who do these guys think they are, Secret Service?”

Of course, it actually was the Secret Service.

“We saw Caminker and then we saw the chief justice and then we knew they were Secret Service,” Weiner wrote.

It was just another Thursday for Law School student Angel Tang, or so she thought.

“You’re walking to class thinking ‘I hope I’m not late’ and then you sit down in your regular ol’ property class, trying to finish the last few pages of last night’s reading when you realize that there are a lot of alumni hanging around your class for some reason — a lot of stern looking alumni,” she wrote in an e-mail.

“Then when Dean Caminker announces the Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts to everyone,” she continued, “you suddenly realize that stern looking alumni is the Secret Service and you think ‘Damn, it rocks to be at Michigan.’ ”

While in the class, Roberts invited students to ask questions and engaged them in conversation — and even cold-called on one student.

“Without any warning, he walked over (to) the professor’s lectern, found the class seating chart, and announced, ‘And we’ll start with a question from,’ and proceeded to cold-call a student for the first question,” Peterson wrote.

“The entire room erupted with laughter as Roberts played on the law school pedagogical tradition,” he added.

Law School student Alex Sarch got to ask Roberts a question.

“I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask the chief justice a question during the class today,” he wrote in an e-mail. “His answer was humorous and insightful, and I felt very privileged to be there for his visit.”

A few unlucky students, who arrived late to class, had a very different experience — being locked out after Roberts’s security detail cordoned off the room.

In response to the students who were locked out, Caminker sent an e-mail apologizing for the lockout and for telling the students in the hallway to be quiet.

“I’m very sorry the marshals couldn’t let them in once we started (which I didn’t know would happen), and in particular I’m sorry that I felt the need to ask them to quiet down when they were already missing out — which probably added insult to injury,” he wrote.

He added: “I hope they can all attend the Q&A at Hill. And of course they still have a good story to tell, even if it’s not quite the same one.”

Roberts will be in Ann Arbor for the next couple of days, holding a question-and-answer session at Hill Auditorium this morning and speaking at the groundbreaking of the Law School’s academic building this afternoon.

Roberts, who — according to the Winter 2008-2009 Notre Dame Magazine is a die-hard Notre Dame fan — is also scheduled to attend the University football game against Notre Dame tomorrow. He attended last year’s Michigan versus Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind., according to the article.

Weiner said he especially enjoyed Roberts’s response to a first-year law student who asked what advice the chief justice would have for law school students.

Weiner wrote, “He said, ‘It’s too late.’ ”

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