ALBERT LEA, Minn. – Students at Albert Lea High School got a unique opportunity Thursday.
They were able to sit through the proceedings of a real Minnesota Supreme Court case.
Each year, the Minnesota Supreme Court goes to two high schools to present a case, and for the first 90 minutes of school Thursday, students at ALHS got to listen in as oral arguments were presented.
Through this presentation, the Minnesota Supreme Court is hoping to teach these 700 students about the court system while building their trust in the Judicial Branch as well.
“I feel it’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to see their court in action,” said Associate Justice Natalie Hudson.
Hudson and her colleagues heard oral arguments from an actual case, Lapoint vs. Family Orthodontics.
The case centers on a dispute in which a woman felt she was being discriminated against for being pregnant.
The justices say coming to the high school is a good way to have students witness how important their job is.
“The Supreme Court tends to be a little more invisible to our community, so this is an opportunity to show the community how the court system works and also for us to interact with the community and get to know the community that we serve,” said Hudson.
Students were even able to ask the judges questions, connecting with them on a more personal level.
“It was interesting to hear what they said,” said senior Adam Nelson. “There was a couple of things that I wanted to ask myself and the replies the judges gave to the students wasn’t the reply I thought they were going to give. That was really cool to hear.”
Even though these students missed a couple of classes this morning, they actually learned a lot.
“It’s something you don’t ever hear about. I’ve never heard about the Supreme Court coming to school, so when I heard about this, it was awesome,” said Nelson.
Students have also been doing mock trials in their classrooms, and Wednesday night the judges were able to sit down with local community members at a dinner as well. It’s their way of connecting more with the community.