Supreme Court Goes To High School

North Dakota Supreme Court holds court in an unlikely place.

It was a packed theater at Fargo South High School but this time, it wasn’t a performance.

Instead, the five justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court took the stage.

High school students had the chance to see justices review a case hoping to spark a passion for government in our next generation.
It was like any other day at the office.
As justices took up the case of the State versus Francis, they had a different kind of audience and they were all ears.
“To see how things work and to witness how they work is such a different experience,” says Associate Attorney, Ariston Johnson.
Ariston is representing Curtis Francis who is appealing his case in front of the Supreme Court.

Francis pleaded guilty after the state charged him with violating a law that prohibits collecting signatures near voting centers on election days.
“Many of these students are going to have an opportunity for the first time in their lives to vote in an election this year and hopefully these are interesting issues for them,” says Johnson.
And while conducting court in a high school is a little out of place, Justice Sandstrom is right at home.

Sandstrom was a student of the first ever graduating class at Fargo High.
“It’s been a great opportunity to be a part of the developing history of North Dakota and we’re looking for the next generation to come up and get involved,” says North Dakota Supreme Court Justice, Dale Sandstrom.
“Students not only sat in for court, but had a chance to ask their questions to the justices.”
“If we declared the law unconstitutional then his conviction would not stand,” says North Dakota Supreme Court Justice, Carol Kapsner.
“To declare a law in constitution four of the five justices must agree,” says Johnson.
Questions that the justices were happy to hear as Sandstrom nears the end of his term he knows the next generation sits before them.
“I hope I instill in them an interest in government and that North Dakota government is still closest to the people probably of any state,” says Justice Sandstrom.

The justices didn’t reach a decision this afternoon.

But court will continue tomorrow unfortunately, not at Fargo South.

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