State Supreme Court to celebrate bicentennial in original courtroom
The Indiana Supreme Court will travel to Corydon on Wednesday, April 20, to hold an oral argument. The event for the judicial branch to celebrate the state bicentennial will include a modern-day argument in the original location of state government.
‘They’ll hear an oral argument in the original Supreme Courtroom,’ Circuit Court Judge John T. Evans told the Harrison County Council earlier this month.
Public Supreme Court proceedings are called oral arguments, which provide the Justices with the opportunity to ask attorneys questions about the cases. Usually, oral arguments last 40 minutes to an hour. The Sheriff of the Supreme Court calls the court to order. Each side has 20 to 30 minutes to argue. An electronic timer with green, yellow and red lights keeps track of time for each argument. Typically, the appealing party will open the argument, the other side responds and then the appealing party has the last word.
This event is endorsed by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission as an official Bicentennial Legacy Project.
While the event is invitation only with limited seating, Evans said his office will host a concurrent program at 9:30 a.m. on the third floor of the downtown courthouse. Everyone is welcome to attend the Circuit Court event, but registration is required (www.in.gov/judiciary/citc/3758.htm). More information is provided at www.courts.in.gov.
The Indiana Supreme Court held its first oral argument in Corydon on May 5, 1817, in the case of McDowell v. Davis. The three-judge panel met in a small room, about 500 square feet, in the upstairs of the capitol building. The Senate met in another room upstairs and the House of Representatives met downstairs in the same building.
The Indiana Dept. of Education is supporting the event and encouraging classrooms throughout the state to participate through an archived webcast of the argument, which is expected to be available April 22. Attorneys and judges are invited to visit a school in their community as part of the celebration to talk about the judicial branch. Educators and speakers will have access to case briefs and other resources online at courts.in.gov/corydon that provide teaching points for speaking to students.
The Indiana State Bar Association, in coordination with the local bars of Harrison, Crawford, Floyd, Clark and Scott counties, is supporting the event. They are encouraging attorneys and judges to speak to students about the judicial branch, including oral argument procedure and the daily operations of the courts.
The Court holds about 70 oral arguments at the State House in Indianapolis each year. Occasionally, it schedules arguments outside the capitol to allow students, press and public in other areas of the state an opportunity to see the work of the Court.
The concurrent program will consist of remarks from local officials, bicentennial chairperson Perry Hammock and state archivist Jim Corridan.
The oral argument will begin at 10:30, followed by historic document viewing in the House of Representatives. A historic marker dedication for Polly Strong, who successfully sued to gain freedom from enslavement, will follow at 11:45 a.m.