Mountain Pointe High School invited the Ahwatukee community for a chance to see the judicial system at work as it hosted two oral arguments presented by the Arizona Supreme Court in the school’s auditorium on Tuesday.
According to Heather Murphy, director of communications for the Arizona Supreme Court, the Arizona Supreme Court hosts oral arguments on the road a few times a year, typically at university institutes.
“It is a little bit rarer for us to go to a high school, but we usually do one or two a year,” she said.
The decision to host the oral argument at Mountain Pointe came about by Lane Waddell, social studies teacher, contacting Vice Chief Justice Scott Bales with the idea.
Over the years Waddell has invited Bales to be a guest speaker in his classroom, and Waddell threw out the idea of Mountain Pointe hosting the Arizona Supreme Court.
Bales brought the idea to his fellow colleagues, which believed it be an excellent idea.
Waddell said his students were the frontrunners of hosting the event by writing press releases, having the stage set up, and delegating other different tasks.
After both oral arguments were completed, students were allowed to ask different questions to the panel of judges.
The oral arguments seemed to hit home to the students in attendance, especially junior Jane Yeom, who wishes to attend law school after she graduates.
She enjoyed the fact that the judges were diving deeper into both cases to make sure the facts were correct, rather than going along with what they were being told.
“For me to be able to actually hear what other lawyers have to say, or how they present their case, it really gave me an example of how I should try to present my cases if I decide to practice as an adult,” she said.
Before the oral arguments Yeom was on the fence of pursuing a law degree, but after seeing firsthand how the system works, she is committed to pursuing a career in law.
K.R. Scott, retired government instructor at Mountain Pointe, also attended the oral arguments feeling the event struck a chord with each audience member, particularly the students.
“All our young people were able to see this firsthand, and it will inspire a great many of them to consider a career in law, a career in government service, or inspire them to realize that the law is not the enemy,” Scott said. “It’s actually a part of our community, and a very important part of our community. This will have a big impact because here is a group of people, the wisest most senior judges in our legal system in Arizona, and they came to our high school in Ahwatukee.”
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