Well, without a doubt, September 13th will live forever in my mind as one of the most memorable days of my life. I doubt I will ever forget it. To me, it symbolized a moment in history when I saw first hand, no, not just saw first hand, but lived, experienced first hand the power of We the People… the citizens of New York, from all corners of the State, from different walks of life, old to young, from various backgrounds and nationalities… come together for a common purpose – to defend our freedom! It was absolutely surreal. And so powerful.
Yes, I was the proverbial warrior, the David going to meet Goliath, as Brownstone Institute (where I am a Fellow) so aptly put it in their wonderful article entitled, David v. Goliath in New York” which was released the day before my court appearance. But warriors do not win battles or wars alone. They have many supporters. And I am so grateful for all of mine.
On September 13th, over 400 of you showed up at the courthouse. Afterwards, I was told by many that they had driven several hours to get there… 5, 6, 7 hours! One woman I met said she had come all the way from Michigan to support me in court! Many people came the night before and stayed in a hotel, while others got up well before dawn so they could arrive at the courthouse first thing in the morning – even before I got there. And that they did…
My case was first up on the 10.00am docket, and I wanted to arrive early, right when the courthouse opened at 9.00am so I could go to the Attorney Lounge and do my last hour of prepping in silence. As I approached the courthouse on foot, my lead plaintiff, Senator George Borrello, who was arriving at the same time, commented on the large crowd that was starting to gather on the courthouse steps. They were holding American flags and some held signs as you’ll see in the photos below.
As we approached the crosswalk at the intersection, I heard someone shout, “There she is!” Suddenly the crowd all turned towards us and erupted into loud cheers and energetic applause, which continued for several minutes as I crossed the street and then climbed the steps. I was so surprised by their amazing greeting, so I smiled and thanked them for coming, walked through the crowd, up the steps and entered the courthouse. There were some familiar faces in the mix, but mostly strangers I’d never met.
Once inside the courthouse, after flashing my attorney ID card in order to circumvent the security line that was forming, I headed up the grand staircase that leads to the courtroom and Attorney Lounge. I could still hear and see through the floor-to-ceiling walls of glass, the crowd cheering outside, and as I started up the staircase, I looked up and saw much to my surprise what appeared to be a few court employees smiling big and clapping for me! One of them even pumped his fist in the air, cheering me as I ascended the stairs. I was completely stunned. I hadn’t said a word yet, and total strangers were applauding me outside and inside the courthouse! How did they even know who I was? Unreal!
I walked down the hallway and entered the Attorney Lounge, and as I had hoped, I was the first one there. I took out my notes and started reviewing for the umpteenth time. Senator Borrello came in to offer me some coffee, and just then the first of the attorneys who had other cases on the docket that day started to arrive in the Lounge. Each one came in with total shock and an edge of excitement after having to navigate the hoards of people streaming in from the outside and going through the security check point.
None of the attorneys failed to ask of the room in general, “What the heck is going on here today? Whose case is this?!?!” They of course didn’t know the name of the case, or its subject matter, but they knew, and verbalized, that they had never seen a crowd like this at court before. Any court! I kept my head down and studied my notes, as Senator Borrello explained the case to them.
After about half an hour more, and then it was show time. I exited the Lounge and headed towards the courtroom. As soon as I turned the corner into the atrium, I saw a crowd of a couple hundred people, most standing, some sitting in chairs that had been set up, theater style, around a large TV screen. The courtroom could only hold about 60-70 people, so the rest would be watching on that screen via closed circuit television.
Though the atrium was packed, it was relatively quiet considering the number of people there. Some were talking, some were praying. They saw me come into the atrium area and they broke out in applause, again! The sea of people parted to make way for Senator Borrello and me to pass through and get over to the courtroom. Along the way, people wished me luck and patted my back as I walked through the crowd, “Go get ‘em Bobbie Anne!” “You’ve got this!” “We are with you!”
I was mentally “in the zone,” so I didn’t say anything to anyone. I just smiled and nodded and kept walking. The courtroom doors were closed. The bailiff saw us coming and opened the doors. Inside, the courtroom was utterly packed! Every single seat filled, all sitting silently, until they saw me enter, when they jumped to their feet and began to applaud as we walked up to the front row. Literally everyone was on their feet smiling and energetically clapping for me. There was only one person I saw, as I approached my seat in the front row, who was not on his feet, was not clapping, and was not smiling. I said to myself, ah, there sits my opposing counsel from the Attorney General’s office. And I was right.
Once the courtroom quieted, the clock tolled 10.00am, the doors behind the bench swung opened, the bailiff shouted, “All rise!” – and we did, as the five New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division justices took the bench. Presiding Judge Smith called the case, “First up, George M. Borrello v. Kathleen Hochul.” The Attorney General’s office went first. I won’t detail his argument, but you can certainly watch it for yourself to hear what he had to say, as well as my rebuttal thereafter.
The entire hearing took less than 30 minutes. I wish I had more time. I had so much more I wanted to explain to the court as to why they should uphold the lower court’s just ruling from last year. But time was limited as their docket was full. The Epoch Times, Children’s Health Defense, and NTD News live-streamed the hearing. This is one of those links if you want to watch the recording of what was said: Oral arguments
After presenting my defense to the Attorney General’s appeal, and answering the questions that a couple of the judges threw at me, I concluded my argument, “If there are no further questions your Honors, then, I rest on my brief.” You could hear a pin drop. I turned from the podium, and within seconds, I heard the rise of thunderous cheering and whooping, coming from the atrium. The couple hundred people outside the courtroom sounded like they were at a sporting event and their team just won the championship game!
I was blown away. I collected my things, and started to walk towards the center aisle to exit the courtroom when the audience there inside the courtroom rose to their feet and began applauding me! Inside the courtroom. That never happens. A standing ovation. In court! I was beyond stunned. I wasn’t sure the judges would be pleased, so I picked up my pace to get out into the atrium as quickly as possible.
As I re-entered the atrium, everyone was on their feet, clapping, shouting words of thanks and of congratulations. I was so relieved it was over. I had been preparing for that hearing for weeks and weeks. It was too important not to. Now it was over, and I could breathe. Cameras or recording devices of any sort are prohibited in courtrooms. But now in the atrium, people had their cell phones out, taking videos, photos, reaching out to shake my hand. As I got to the top of the grand staircase, I saw a man positioned on the steps below. He was snapping photos with his huge, impressive camera. I looked right at him and smiled. He was a stranger to me. But I had noticed him when I first arrived at the courthouse a couple hours earlier. I figured he was with a news organization.
I later found out he wasn’t. He was just a concerned New Yorker, like all the others who came that day, and he wanted to document the event in photos. I am so thankful that he did. Almost all of the photos I have in this article are compliments of Manny Vaucher. I hope you will consider using him for any of your professional photography needs. He is excellent. And so thoughtful. Without my asking, he came to Rochester, took photos all morning, got my assistant’s contact information, and then made a video of his photos, and sent it to me! It’s just a terrific compilation of the event. I hope you will take a few minutes and check it out. He entitled the video, “Thunderstruck – Not All Heroes Wear A Cape.” I borrowed part of his title to entitle this article. His video creation is here: Thunderstruck
To be honest, I don’t know how I did in my arguments. I have no idea if the panel of judges will rule in my favor and uphold the lower court’s decision to strike down Hochul’s illegal quarantine reg. We likely won’t hear for weeks. But, I do know that my reference to entitling this article “Thunderstruck” is not because I think I hit it out of the park, so to speak.
My use of the word “thunderstruck” here is more for the absolutely amazing feeling of unity and support that I felt from the people of New York on September 13th. And even still today, days later, as social media keeps the event happenings alive and circulating, I am still getting so many emails, texts, phone calls, posts, messages, interview requests… it’s totally unbelievable. I said to a friend, this must be what famous people feel like.
After Senator Borrello and I exited the courthouse, we were greeted by a whole other crowd of people who never even got into the building. They were clapping and waving American flags, and coming up to us to shake our hands and thank us for standing up for We the People. There was a speaker and microphone set up, the press was there, and when everyone finished filing out of the court, Senator Borrello and I each spoke, and then we had a press conference with the media. We didn’t all fit on the sidewalk and court steps, and we actually spilled out into the street some. Many cars passed us and honked, not in annoyance, but in support. It was truly unforgettable.
I have posted below a gallery of more photos from the event – most of which are Manny’s. Please take a look and enjoy! You can find Manny Vaucher at www.emanphoto.com
I truly want to thank each and every one of you who came to the courthouse on September 13th, as well as everyone who wrote, posted, or called me to wish me good luck, or congratulate me afterwards. I’d also like to thank everyone who has made a donation on my website, mailed a check, or who has attended a fundraiser event to help defray the costs of this lawsuit and the appeal. I’ve been working on this case for a year and a half, pro bono, and because it’s taken up so much of my time, it has been to the detriment of my other income-producing legal work. So thank you all for your amazing support. I cannot continue fighting for New Yorkers without your contributions! If anyone wants to make a donation hereafter, my website is www.CoxLawyers.com
Thank you to Will Ouweleen of O-Neh-Da Vineyard who donated bottles of wine as part of that fundraiser, and hosted another, together with the fabulous Tawn and Sue, who have organized multiple fundraisers for this lawsuit.
Reposted from the author’s Substack
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