The Vermont Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in four cases at Proctor High School on Wednesday, October 17th.
The Court usually holds its monthly term in the Supreme Court building in Montpelier, but each fall the Court goes "On the Road" for a day, historically, to a superior court courthouse. This year marks the second time cases will be heard at a high school in Vermont after the Court went to Woodstock last October.
The school’s gymnasium will be turned into a courtroom for the day so that students and teachers can experience the appellate process. Arguments will follow the same pattern as ones held in the Supreme Court courtroom. Each side will have fifteen minutes to argue its case.
The goal of this unique event is to help students understand Vermont’s judicial system by providing students with the opportunity to observe the state’s highest court up close and to interact with the Supreme Court Justices. For many, the judicial branch is the least understood branch of government, and “On the Road” is a way to show the community how it works.
“Judges and attorneys must be part of educating the public about civics and the judiciary’s role in government,” Chief Justice Paul Reiber said. “We are very thankful to Proctor High School for giving us this opportunity to provide students with access to the Court’s work on an intimate level. I am particularly excited to bring the Court to Rutland County.”
Benjamin Curtis, Middle School social studies teacher atProctor has arranged for approximately 80 students to view the hearings. “In schools we strive to engage our students in authentic learning experiences,” Mr. Curtis said. “This event offers students an incredible opportunity to witness our law-based society in action and up close.” He will also be extending invitations to surrounding schools to attend the event.
Vermont Supreme Court Justice Karen Carroll, a 1981 graduate of Proctor High, suggested holding term at her alma mater. “I am very excited to visit my alma mater and for the students of Proctor High School to observe the Supreme Court at work,” Justice Carroll said. “I am very appreciative to PHS for allowing the Court to provide this educational opportunity to its students.”
Question and answer sessions with the Justices will be held in the morning and afternoon. The Justices will have lunch with students in the school’s cafeteria.
The public is welcome to attend the hearings. Existing rules of etiquette apply for members of the public and for the media during court proceedings. Everyone will be required to go through routine security screening, so an early arrival is advisable. The calendar of cases to be heard at Proctor can be viewed by clicking on this link: https://www.vermontjudiciary.org/sites/default/files/documents/October%202018.Term__2.pdf