The Ohio Supreme Court justices are traveling to Cleveland for the biannual Off-Site Court program on September 25 and 26. This is the third time the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in Cleveland since the program's inception in 1987.
The Off-Site Court program enhances students' understanding of the legal system by providing an opportunity for hundreds of students to attend and observe Supreme Court proceedings in person and to interact with justices, attorneys, and court staff.
On Tuesday, the justices will speak with students at Case Western Reserve University Law School and on Wednesday, they will convene at the Cuyahoga County Courthouse to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the courthouse and speak with students from a dozen regional high schools.
"This is the first time the court has been able to hold Off-Site session back to back, two days in the same county," said Julie Manning, Off-Site Court coordinator. "It hasn't come up before, and quite frankly a lot of the areas we go to are smaller, more rural towns, and Cleveland is a big metropolitan area with over 120 high schools, so this gives us a chance to also reach out to more students."
Lawrence Mitchell, the dean of Case Western Reserve University Law School, said he hopes his students approach judicial opinions from an entirely new perspective after hearing arguments.
"I hope what they see by observing court, and particularly by listening to the questions the justices ask the lawyers, are the kinds of considerations that go into the ultimate determination of law," said Mitchell.
The Ohio Supreme Court will hear eight cases during the court's upcoming Off-Site session in Cleveland. The students have been briefed on the case they will attend by their teachers and volunteer attorneys with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.
The students also will have a chance to ask questions and interact with the justices before court convenes. After the assigned case has been argued, each group of students will meet with the case attorneys for a debriefing and discussion of the legal issues in the argument they just heard.
Background information and a video illustrating the program, including footage from past Off-Site Court sessions, is available on the Supreme Court Web site. The court's previous visits to Cleveland were in 1988 and in 1997, when they visited Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, the alma mater of current Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor.