Portage County to Host Supreme Court Oral Arguments in September
The Ohio Supreme Court will convene in official session in Portage County on September 24 as part of its biannual Off-Site Court Program.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, Terrence O’Donnell, Judith Ann Lanzinger, Sharon L. Kennedy, Judith L. French, and William M. O’Neill will hear oral arguments in three cases beginning at 9 a.m. at Ravenna High School. The three cases are: Felix v. Ganley Chevrolet (Case No. 2013-1746), State v. Johnson (Case No. 2013-1973), and Smith v. Chen (Case No. 2013-2008). Summaries of these cases will be released in the coming weeks.
“Part of our mission as an institution is to educate the public about the court system,” Chief Justice O’Connor said. “By conducting oral arguments in communities across Ohio, students have the opportunity to observe the court in action and how the judicial branch works.”
Besides Ravenna, 10 other high schools will participate: Aurora, Crestwood, Field, James A. Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt, Rootstown, Southeast, Streetsboro, Waterloo, and Windham.
Portage County Domestic Relations Court Judge Paula C. Giulitto extended a formal invitation to the Supreme Court and is hosting the event along with the Portage County Bar Association.
Initiated in 1987, the program has gained national recognition as a model for education about the judiciary. The program enhances students’ understanding of the legal system by providing an opportunity for them to observe the proceedings of the Supreme Court in person and to interact with justices, attorneys, and court staff.
Students and teachers receive curriculum material to study beforehand, including summaries of the specific cases to be argued. Local attorneys team with educators at each participating school to explain Ohio’s judicial system and to review case materials.
On the morning of September 24, students will participate in a question-and-answer session with the justices. In addition, after attending oral arguments, students will meet with the case attorneys for a debriefing and discussion of the legal issues.
Chief Justice O’Connor said the Portage County session will mark the 69th time the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments outside Columbus since the inception of the program. This will be Portage County’s first time hosting the program.
Access background information including a video illustrating the program, including footage from past Off-Site Court sessions.