Supreme Court convenes at Alexandria Area High School
Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2017
The Minnesota Supreme Court convened at Alexandria Area High School today as part of a biannual program that seeks to teach students about the court system and build the public’s trust and confidence in the Judicial Branch.
The state’s highest Court heard oral arguments of an actual case – State of Minnesota, Respondent, vs. Erik John Heinonen, Appellant (Case No. A16-0229)
– in front of more than 900 sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Alexandria Area High School.
Following the oral arguments, members of the Court held a question-and-answer session with the students, shared lunch with student representatives, and spent the afternoon visiting classrooms to talk more about the state’s court system.
The oral arguments and question-and-answer session were also streamed live on the internet on the Alexandria Area High School website and the Alexandria Community Television website. The proceedings were also broadcast on Alexandria Community Television.
In the days leading up to the event, local attorneys volunteered in area classrooms to help students understand the Supreme Court oral argument process and the case that was before the Court in Alexandria.
Since the Supreme Court convened oral arguments in Rochester, Minn., in 1995, school visits have taken center stage in the Court’s public outreach and education efforts. The Alexandria event marked the 46th
in-school oral argument for the Court.
The Court generally issues its opinions on cases three to five months following oral arguments. All Supreme Court opinions are available upon release at http://www.mncourts.gov/SupremeCourt/RecentOpinions.aspx
Community dinner held before the school event
The evening before the in-school oral arguments, the Supreme Court held a community dinner for members of the public in the Commons of Alexandria Area High School. The dinner was attended by nearly 200 people from around the region, who shared a meal with members of the Supreme Court and the local district court bench, and heard comments from Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea and other Supreme Court justices.
“Our court is so grateful to the Alexandria community for the warm welcome we received
and the excellent discussions we had about Minnesota’s court system,” said Chief Justice Gildea. “These community visits are such a great opportunity to be able to talk about the role our courts play in preserving our rights and freedoms, and engage students at a time when they are learning about their role in our democracy. Minnesotans should be proud to have a court system that is recognized nationally for its fairness, accessibility, and technological innovation.”