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Supreme Judicial Court to Hold Oral Arguments at Local High School for the First Time Since 2019
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court sitting as the Law Court will return to its practice of holding oral arguments at Maine high schools in May. Oral arguments will be held at additional schools in October.
On Wednesday, May 11, beginning at 9:00 a.m., the Court will visit Biddeford High School to hear arguments in three appeals for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Susan Deschambault and Speaker of the House Ryan Fecteau invited the Law Court. The three cases are scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m., 10:05 a.m., and 10:55 a.m.
Students receive copies of the legal briefs submitted in the case before the oral argument takes place. After each argument, the lawyers stay to answer questions from interested students.
Beginning in 2005, the Law Court has held oral arguments in actual appeals at 40 Maine high schools around the state. In each school, the gymnasium, cafeteria, or auditorium is turned into a courtroom for the morning so that the students can observe the appellate process. When the cases are decided, the schools receive a link to the decisions to share with the students.
Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill said, "We hope that providing real-time exposure to the court system-the third branch of governmentadds to students' civics education and gives them a sense of how our justice system works. The practice of appellate law is rarely seen on television or in the movies. Creating a courtroom environment in a high school takes great effort on the part of the school administration and staff and we appreciate their efforts. We enjoy getting out of the courtroom and into the community."
The press is welcome to attend. The case schedule has been posted on the Courts website here.
Live audio streaming of these cases, and all other Supreme Judicial Court oral arguments, is available here.
If interviews or photographs are desired while the Court is at the schools, please contact Julie Finn beforehand at the above email address to schedule an interview. Photographs and video of students are subject to the rules of the high school, and the press is requested to contact school officials directly.