FARMINGTON — The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will hold oral arguments next week at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington as part of the court’s program that gives Maine students a firsthand look at how the judicial system works.

It’s an invitation that took the court almost four years to fulfill.

“I think it’s really neat. I’ve been excited about this for probably a year,” said Sen. Tom Saviello, who started working on getting the court to the school about four years ago. The visit was put on hold because of the school’s renovation. “You never know. one of those students sitting there could become the next chief of the law court,” Saviello said.

On Wednesday the state’s highest appellate court will hear three appeals at Mt. Blue Regional High School presented by case lawyers, with the first appeal being heard at 9 a.m., the second at 9:45 a.m.; and the third at 10:30 a.m. The court members also will have lunch with student groups at the high school that have an interest in law or government, according to Mary Ann Lynch, media and government counsel to the Maine Judicial Courts.

Mt. Blue students will be able to hear lawyers give their oral arguments before the court and then will be emailed a link to the court’s final decision.

The court has been conducting appellate hearings in high schools across the state since 2005 at the invitation of local legislators. Saviello has been working with Lynch to make the Mt. Blue visit happen. Saviello, a Republican, represents District 17, which includes Franklin County, as well as Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon and Vienna.


Saviello said his interest was postponed until renovation at Mt. Blue was completed. Next week’s court hearings will be held in Mt. Blue’s newly built Bjorn Auditorium. The justices will sit as a panel on the stage, with the presenting lawyers on the floor of the auditorium, and students and faculty members will sit in the audience, according to Mt. Blue principal Bruce Mochamer.

Each of the high school’s 700 students will be able to watch one of the three hearings from beginning to end. The school plans to divide the student body into thirds and assign each third to a hearing time. It’s possible that students in advanced placement and honors social studies classes will be able to stay in the audience for all three, Mochamer said.

Saviello said that being able to have the court come to high schools to hear oral arguments is a great opportunity for students in rural areas.

“It’s a rural school; keep that in mind. Mt. Blue is a rural school,” Saviello said. “We’re in a place where, for many of our students, it’s not as accessible to go to Portland to watch the law court operate.”

The advanced placement and honors social studies students at Mt. Blue will put their names into a lottery in advance of the event, and 10 of them will be chosen to have lunch with the justices, after all three hearings are completed, to discuss the judicial process, Mochamer said.

Students and faculty members will be presented with the case briefs before Wednesday, Lynch said. The court also will hear three oral arguments Tuesday at Hermon High School at the invitation of Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Bangor, and on Thursday at Scarborough High School at the invitation of Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough. Lynch said that since the court began hearing oral arguments in high school auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums across the state, the justices have visited 29 Maine schools, hearing more than 85 appellate cases.


“It’s fascinating and it’s a lot of fun. The justices really enjoy going to the schools,” Lynch said.

Live audio streaming of the hearings at the high school will be available to the public on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court website.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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