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Minnesota Supreme Court Convenes at Buffalo High School

Posted: Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Over 800 students watched as the Minnesota Supreme Court convened at Buffalo High School today in an effort to open the doors of the Judicial Branch to the public.

The state's highest court heard oral arguments of an actual case, State of Minnesota, Respondent vs. Meng Vang, Appellant  (Case No. A08-588), which originated in Anoka County District Court.  The Court generally issues its opinions four to six months following oral arguments. 

Supreme Court Opinions

"These visits are one of many ways the Judicial Branch employs to help Minnesotans better understand the courts and the justice system," said Chief Justice Eric Magnuson. "Visiting high schools is especially important because it puts the court in front of young people who are still learning what it means to be part of a democracy based on the rule of law."

"Reaching out to the people we serve has long been one of the court's highest priorities," said Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson. "Meeting students and answering their questions helps foster an understanding of the Judicial Branch. At the same time, the Court has the opportunity to learn from their perspectives and life experiences. For all parties involved, it's a valuable exchange."

Attorneys from the Minnesota State Bar Association volunteered to visit classrooms prior to today's program to review the case with students and help them prepare for the Supreme Court visit. 

Following today's arguments, the justices answered students' questions on a wide variety of topics. Justices and Tenth Judicial District Court Judges, Buffalo Rotary Club members and other distinguished guests also ate lunch with Buffalo students.  In the afternoon, justices visited classrooms at Buffalo High School, Buffalo Community Middle School, Parkside Elementary and Tatanka Elementary. 

Since the Supreme Court convened oral arguments in Rochester, MN, in 1995, the school visits have taken center stage in the Court's efforts to build the public's trust and confidence in the judiciary.  The Buffalo High School event marks the 29th oral argument for students.

About the Minnesota Judiciary

The Minnesota Judicial Branch is made up of 10 judicial districts with 289 district court judgeships, 19 Court of Appeals judges, and seven Supreme Court justices.  The Minnesota Judicial Branch is governed by the Judicial Council, which is chaired by Eric J. Magnuson, Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The Minnesota Judicial Branch is mandated by the Minnesota Constitution to resolve disputes promptly and without delay, and handles approximately 2 million cases per year.  The Minnesota Supreme Court hears appeals from the Court of Appeals, Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals and Tax Court; reviews first-degree murder convictions, and legislative election disputes.