Supreme Court Oral Arguments in Maine High Schools


Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court with Hermon High School students - 2015.

Each year since 2005, the seven Justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court have held oral arguments in appeals of real cases in high schools around the state. The arguments are arranged at the invitation of local legislators - members of the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate.

Over the years, the Court has traveled from Fort Kent to Biddeford and from Fryeburg to Eastport, visiting schools there and in many cities, towns, and villages in between, throughout our large and beautiful state. As of 2016, the Supreme Judicial Court has visited 33 Maine high schools and heard over 99 appeals in those schools.

In each school, the gymnasium, cafeteria, or auditorium is turned into a "courtroom" where the students can observe the appellate process. Students receive copies of the parties' legal briefs in advance of the arguments, so that they can follow the rapid questions and answers that constitute an oral argument. After the arguments the lawyers stay in the courtroom to answer questions from the students about what they just saw and heard. When the cases are decided, the schools receive a link to the Court's opinion to provide to the students.

Creating a real courtroom in a high school is a challenge, and the justices appreciate all of the work undertaken by the faculty and staff at each school to bring this particular, real life civics lesson to Maine high school students. The justices also appreciate having the opportunity to meet and talk with Maine students and their teachers after the arguments. They cannot, of course, talk about the specific cases, but the justices are always impressed with the quality and level of interest that Maine students from across the state bring to these hearings.

For more information on the high school visits, contact Mary Ann Lynch at: mary.ann.lynch@courts.maine.gov.

YEAR SCHOOL LEGISLATIVE INVITATION FROM
2005 Caribou HS Rep. John Martin
2006 South Portland HS
Lewiston HS
Rep. Jane Eberle
Sen. Peggy Rotundo
2007 Hampden Academy
Thornton Academy
Falmouth HS
Sen. Plowman, Rep. Tardy
Sen. Hobbins, Rep. Linda Valentino
Sen. Turner, Rep. Brautigan
2008 Sanford HS
Cony HS (Augusta)
Winthrop HS
Bangor HS
Shead HS (Eastport)
Sen. Nass, Rep. Nass, Rep. Boland
Sen. Libby Mitchell
Rep. Patrick Flood
Rep. Perry
Sen. Kevin Raye
2009 Fryeburg Academy
Ft. Kent (4HS)
Georges Valley (Thomaston)
Sen. Dave Hastings
Rep. John Martin
Rep. Chuck Kruger
2010 Edward Little HS (Auburn)
Windham HS
Waterville HS
Sen. Deb Simpson, Rep. Mike Beaulieu
Sen. Bill Diamond, Rep. Mark Bryant
Rep. Pam Trinward
2011 Deering HS (Portland)
Richmond HS
Lisbon HS
Sen. Justin Alfond
Sen. Seth Goodall, Rep. Seth Berry
Sen. Garrett Mason
2012 Brunswick HS
Biddeford HS
Bucksport HS
Rep. Priest, Sen. Gerzofsky
Rep. Rochello, Rep. Casavant
Sen. Richard Rosen, Rep. Kim Rosen
2013 Orono HS
Nokomis (Newport)
Cape Elizabeth HS
Sen. Cain, Rep. Frey, Rep. Guerin
Rep. Fredette
Sen. Millett, Rep. Monaghan-Derrig
2014 Lincoln-Mattanwacook Academy
Presque Isle HS
Yarmouth HS
Sen. Emily Cain
Rep. Alex Willette
Sen. Dick Woodbury
2015 Mt. Blue HS (Farmington)
Hermon HS
Scarborough HS
Sen. Tom Saviello
Sen. Geoff Gratwick
Sen. Amy Volk
2016 Washington Academy (East Machias)
Fort Kent (4 schools)
Marshwood  HS (South Berwick)
Sen. David Burns

Rep. John Martin
Rep. Roberta Beavers

List of years, high schools, and Legislators (PDF)