News Item
Minnesota Supreme Court Convenes at Tornstrom Auditorium

Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Over 800 students watched as the Minnesota Supreme Court convened at Tornstrom Auditorium 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, Christopher John Daly, Respondent vs. Zachary John McFarland, Petitioner (A10-1184), which originated in Rock County District Court.  The Court generally issues its opinions four to six months following oral arguments. 

“We are committed to ensuring that Minnesota’s courts – the people’s courts -- are readily accessible,” said Chief Justice Lorie S. Gildea. “The issues we face as Minnesotans affect young people as much as adults.  Visiting high schools is especially important because we can engage young people at a time when they are learning their role in our democracy and what it means to live in a society governed by laws.  Meeting students and answering their questions helps to promote a better understanding of the Judicial Branch.  I am proud of this important program and pleased to have opened the court to the young people of Brainerd.”

As part of a local volunteer effort, attorneys from the Crow Wing/Aitkin County Bar Association partnered with Brainerd High School to conduct classroom discussions at the school in order to help prepare students and staff for the visit. 

Following today’s arguments, the justices answered students’ questions on a wide variety of topics. Justices and other distinguished guests also ate lunch with Brainerd High School students.  In the afternoon, justices visited classrooms at Brainerd High School and Central Lakes College. 

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 Brainerd event marks the 34th traveling oral argument for students.