Nebraska Supreme Court Hosted at Schuyler Central High School for Nov. 2 Arguments

Nebraska Supreme Court Hosted at Schuyler Central High School for Nov. 2 Arguments

Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Schulyer oral arguments
Schulyer oral arguments
Schulyer oral arguments

Students at Schuyler Central High School were invited to ask questions of the Nebraska Supreme Court during a November visit to their school – and they did not hold back. The first student to approach the Court had to set aside his original inquiry regarding TransCanada when he realized the justices couldn’t discuss a pending case. He said that he did not want to go easy on the Court so he asked another question: “I understand you have dealt with a lot of emotional cases, how do you set aside your emotions and come up with your decisions?”  A variety of questions followed including a question on DACA executive orders, why multiple life sentences are given when you can literally only serve one, and whether or not judges can be fired. Although some questions could not be answered, the Chief Justice received a round of applause when he noted that the reason the Supreme Court was hearing arguments at Schuler High School is because “The Chief Justice went to High School here.” He continued, “But, we really believe that we have an obligation to make sure that people understand the judicial system and how important the legal profession is to our State. We think this is part of an outreach program that is very important for us.  We especially want to reach out to young people and, hopefully, after watching this you will become lawyers and judges.”  

The questions came after oral arguments at Schuyler Central High School on November 2, 2018, as part of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s outreach and education programming. Two arguments from Western Nebraska were heard on the gym-turned-courtroom stage. The morning began with an educational introduction to the court system and ended with the student question and answer session.

The 2018 visit marks the first time that the Supreme Court has held arguments in Schuyler. Former Supreme Court Justice John Gerrard, now a United States District Judge, joined the educational portion of the program to provide background information on levels of the state courts and the types of cases the students were about to hear. Judge Gerrard is also a graduate of Schuyler Central High School.

Highlighting the Court’s language interpretation program, portions of the educational session were presented in Spanish by Nebraska State Court Interpreter Coordinator Vladimir Bazan. Spanish language questions from students were also interpreted.

All argument sessions, whether held in the Supreme Court courtroom or outside of the State Capitol, are open to the public and several community members took the opportunity to see the Court in action.  Current and former state senators dotted the audience as did Schuyler graduates who are now members of the legal community.  Former State Senator Mike Flood, Norfolk, attended arguments with members of his News Channel Nebraska crew to video the court session. 

View full video of introductions, arguments and student Q&A:  https://vimeo.com/300600163

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