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Information for Students & Teachers
A basic understanding of our justice system and its role in preserving and protecting our democracy is critical for students of all ages. This page lists programs offered by the Judicial Branch to promote a better understanding of how the courts in Maine work and provides links to informative, nonpartisan resources and websites.
Judicial Branch Activities
High School Visits by the Supreme Judicial Court
For more than ten years, the Supreme Judicial Court has scheduled and held oral arguments in appeals before the Court to give students a sense of how the appellate process works. Following oral argument, Justices meet and answer questions from students and faculty. Visits are generally scheduled for October and are coordinated by the Judicial Branch's Office of Court Communications with one or more state legislators from the district where the high school is located.
Courthouse Visits and Tours
One of the best ways to understand how the court system works is by visiting a courthouse and sitting in on a trial or proceeding. Maine courthouses are open to the public Monday through Friday and court proceedings are generally public, except for case types that are designated confidential by law.
For teachers and community groups
If you would like to schedule a tour of a courthouse with your class or group, or sit in on a trial or oral argument before the Supreme Judicial Court, please contact Barbara.Cardone@courts.maine.gov for more information and to facilitate a visit.
Selected resources on civics, government, and law of interest to students, teachers, and the public.
- Center for Civic Education The Center's mission is to "promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy."
- iCivics Fosters "non-partisan civic education so that the practice of democracy is learned by each new generation."
- ABA Division for Public Education The American Bar Association is a national membership organization for lawyers with the mission of defending liberty and pursuing justice. The division for public education provides reliable information about the law and legal issues, including resources and programs for educators, students, legal professionals, and others to advance public understanding of law and its role in society.
- Street Law Non-profit organization focusing on building a greater understanding of how law and government work through innovative programs and resources.
- Civics Renewal Network Consortium of non-profit, nonpartisan organization with a mission of strengthening civic life in the U.S. by increasing the quality of civics education in our nation's schools. Website offers free, high quality classroom resources on many civics topics.