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Kyle Ratliff: Higher Calling

September 15, 2009

Kyle Ratliff’s attraction to the legal world pulled him to Washington, D.C., this summer for an internship in Congress and another in the Supreme Court of the United States this fall.

The senior government major from Seminole plans to attend law school when he graduates and practice international or corporate law, so the internships won’t hurt his résumé when he reaches for those goals.

He served in the office of U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, 23rd District representative from San Antonio until the end of July and took on the rare opportunity to work in the highest court in the land. Ratliff’s internship in the Supreme Court began on Aug. 31 and will run through December.

Ratliff said, “I’m working in the Supreme Court clerk’s office, dealing all of the cases that initially come into the court. Attorneys call and ask for updates and the clerk’s office also inputs all cases into the database to make sure they meet the requirements to go before the Supreme Court.”

“I will receive credit for the internships,” Ratliff said. “This one (in Rodriguez’s office) will suffice for government credit for my degree. The Supreme Court internship will be an elective government course.”

Ratliff was looking for an internship in Washington, D.C. in the spring when he applied for the Supreme Court position and with several congressmen. After not hearing from the Supreme Court, he accepted the internship from Rodriguez’s office.

A Supreme Court representative later suggested that Ratliff apply for a fall internship to which he was accepted. He said the high court usually only selects two or three applicants for internship sessions and generally no more than five.

“It’s a greater honor for me because it is so selective,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff will graduate from ASU in December after receiving credit for the internships and completing an independent research study course with Dr. Casey Jones of the ASU Government Department. He plans to attend law school and then practice international or corporate law.

Ratliff, who regularly appears on the dean’s list, will graduate 3½ years after he started at ASU. Besides Government, he minored in music with an emphasis on vocal performance. Although he has plans for his career after law school, Ratliff is keeping his options open.

“I do have some political aspirations,” he said. “I don’t have any preconceived notions about law school and I’ll specialize in what field suits me.”

He’ll likely be a community activist if his college days are any indication. Ratliff has worked in ASU’s Community Development Initiative (CDI) as a youth counselor for a local youth groups and as a peer tutor in the ASU Writing Center. As part of the CDI, he has worked with the Galilee Community Development Corp., a non-profit group that helps with housing needs for low-to-moderate income residents in San Angelo.

In a testimonial on his time with the CDI, Ratliff highlighted various projects he has worked on to compile data from the community on housing issues in San Angelo.

Ratliff stated, “I have been privileged to see first-hand the inner-workings of city government and their non-profit counterparts. This experience through Community Development Initiative has opened my eyes to public service and enabled me to understand how multi-faceted government can be, but also how people and government can work together to build a better community.”