High School Sessions

Each year since 2005, the seven Justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court have held oral arguments in appeals of real cases in high schools around the state. The arguments are arranged at the invitation of local legislators, members of the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate.

Over the years, the Court has traveled from Fort Kent to Biddeford and from Fryeburg to Eastport, visiting schools there and in many cities, towns, and villages in between, throughout our large and beautiful state. As of 2017, the Supreme Judicial Court has visited 35 Maine high schools and heard over 105 appeals in those schools.

In each school, the gymnasium, cafeteria, or auditorium is turned into a "courtroom" where the students can observe the appellate process. Students receive copies of the parties' legal briefs in advance of the arguments, so that they can follow the rapid questions and answers that constitute an oral argument. After the arguments the lawyers stay in the courtroom to answer questions from the students about what they just saw and heard. When the cases are decided, the schools receive a link to the Court's opinion to provide to the students.

Creating a real courtroom in a high school is a challenge, and the justices appreciate all of the work undertaken by the faculty and staff at each school to bring this particular, real life civics lesson to Maine high school students. The justices also appreciate having the opportunity to meet and talk with Maine students and their teachers after the arguments. They cannot, of course, talk about the specific cases, but the justices are always impressed with the quality and level of interest that Maine students from across the state bring to these hearings.

For more information on the high school visits, contact Julia Finn at julia.finn@courts.maine.gov.

YEAR SCHOOL LEGISLATIVE INVITATION FROM
2005 Caribou HS Rep. John Martin
2006  South Portland HS 
Lewiston HS
Rep. Jane Eberle
Sen. Peggy Rotundo
2007 Hampden Academy 
Thornton Academy 
Falmouth HS
Sen. Plowman, Rep. Tardy
Sen. Hobbins, Rep. Linda Valentino
Sen. Turner, Rep. Brautigan
2008  Sanford HS
Cony HS (Augusta) 
Winthrop HS 
Bangor HS
Shead HS (Eastport)
Sen. Nass, Rep. Nass, Rep. Boland
Sen. Libby Mitchell 
Rep. Patrick Flood 
Rep. Perry
Sen. Kevin Raye
2009  Fryeburg Academy
Ft. Kent (4HS)
Georges Valley (Thomaston)
Sen. Dave Hastings 
Rep. John Martin 
Rep. Chuck Kruger
2010  Edward Little HS (Auburn) 
Windham HS
Waterville HS
Sen. Deb Simpson, Rep. Mike Beaulieu
Sen. Bill Diamond, Rep. Mark Bryant
Rep. Pam Trinward
2011  Deering HS (Portland) 
Richmond HS
Lisbon HS
Sen. Justin Alfond
Sen. Seth Goodall, Rep. Seth Berry
Sen. Garrett Mason
2012  Brunswick HS 
Biddeford HS 
Bucksport HS
Rep. Priest, Sen. Gerzofsky
Rep. Rochello, Rep. Casavant
Sen. Richard Rosen, Rep. Kim Rosen
2013  Orono HS
Nokomis (Newport) 
Cape Elizabeth HS
Sen. Cain, Rep. Frey, Rep. Guerin
Rep. Fredette
Sen. Millett, Rep. Monaghan-Derrig
2014  Lincoln-Mattanwacook Academy
Presque Isle HS 
Yarmouth HS
Sen. Emily Cain 
Rep. Alex Willette 
Sen. Dick Woodbury
2015  Mt. Blue HS (Farmington) 
Hermon HS
Scarborough HS
Sen. Tom Saviello 
Sen. Geoff Gratwick 
Sen. Amy Volk
2016  Washington Academy (East Machias) 
Fort Kent (4 schools)
Marshwood  HS (South Berwick)
Sen. David Burns 

Rep. John Martin
Rep. Roberta Beavers
2017 Freeport HS 

Mountain Valley HS (Rumford) 
Sen. Majority Leader Garrett Mason,
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon
Sen. Lisa Keim
2018 Westbrook HS Rep. Drew Gattine
2018 Wells HS Sen. Ronald Collins, Rep Robert Foley
2019 Sanford HS Rep Anne-Marie Mastraccio