Chief Justice Presides Over Teleconference Arguments

Chief Justice Presides Over Teleconference Arguments

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

In a courtroom devoid of the usual noise of shifting paper and shuffling feet, Chief Justice Mike Heavican called the Nebraska Supreme Court to order at 9:00 a.m. on March 31, 2020. Respecting the health and safety of court users and staff, the Nebraska Supreme Court conducted oral arguments via conference call in April. Only the bailiff, Allyson Stewart, technology staff Anh Nguyen, and Deputy Administrator Jennifer Rasmussen attended the proceeding in person.  

Chief Justice Heavican sat solo at the bench while the Associate Justices, as well as the attorneys, participated by phone. Nebraska Educational Television live-streamed the arguments, showing the initials of judges and attorneys rather than faces.

Attorneys were given five minutes of uninterrupted time to represent their case, after which each of the justices were polled by the Chief Justice, offering an opportunity for questioning the attorneys. Originally, there were 20 cases anticipated for the weeklong argument session. Two cases were argued on March 31, and two cases were argued on April 1, the remaining 16 cases had previously been submitted directly to the Court on briefs.

Audio recordings of the four cases are available on the Judicial Branch Website argument archive.

The Nebraska Supreme Court is committed to providing continual access to the courts. Through the use of technology, courts are able to remain open and available to the public so that no person is deprived of his or her constitutional rights.