Around 65 students from Pleasant and Marion Harding high schools had a unique chance to meet with the Ohio Supreme Court justices on April 25. The intimate discussion took place as part of the semiannual Off-Site Court Program, which was held at the Marion County Court of Common Pleas.
Marking its 25th anniversary this year, the Off-Site Court Program gives students an opportunity to observe the proceedings of the Supreme Court in person and to interact with justices, attorneys and court staff.
In addition to hearing oral arguments on Wednesday, some students were able to speak with the justices and ask questions about the judicial system.
"It's definitely a privilege," said Hunter Workman, Marion Harding High School senior. "For people who actually kind of care about the system and things like that it's kind of cool to see how the inside of it works. I guess I expected them to be real strait-laced and not as candid as they were."
"It was different. I wasn't expecting it to be kind of laid back like they are," said Andrea Jenner, Marion Harding High School senior. "I was expecting more serious and when they got up there and were all joking around, they're just like us - normal people."
After the informal question-and-answer session, the students observed how the oral argument was all business.
"Seeing the court shows on TV and things like that, I'm not personally a fan of them because I think it makes it look like a joke. I was hoping for the serious thing and I'm glad I got it," Workman said.
After the assigned case was argued, the high school students met with the case attorneys to discuss the legal issues in the arguments they heard.
The Marion County session marked the 63rd time the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments outside Columbus since the program's inception. In all around 150 students from across Marion County heard oral arguments.