Supreme Court Brings Oral Arguments to Students in West Tennessee

April 2, 2014

The Tennessee Supreme Court will bring oral arguments to Bethel University next week as part of the Court’s SCALES program, as high school and college students get a personal look at how the court operates.

More than 800 students from eight area high schools and Bethel University are expected to participate in the April 10 event, which will give students the opportunity to study a real case before the state Supreme Court and hear oral arguments between the parties in front of the five-member panel of justices.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our area students to experience a court case at the highest level in our state,” said Judge Donald E. Parish. “It’s an honor to have the justices in our community.”

Judge Parish is presiding judge of the 24th Judicial District and is leading the effort to organize the event. Other area judges also participating are Judge John Everett Williams of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals; Circuit Court Judge Creed McGinley; Carroll County General Sessions Judge Larry J. Logan; and Decatur County General Sessions Judge Ricky L. Wood.

Students will receive guidance from local attorneys and judges as they study the background and facts of the cases they will later hear at oral arguments. This is accomplished by reading case summaries prepared especially for the program and learning legal terminology. Teachers are provided study manuals to also assist students in developing an understanding of the process.

Also participating in the event is the Carroll County Bar Association, Carroll County Sheriff’s Department,the Huntingdon Police Department, McKenzie Police Department, and Bethel's police department.

The Court typically hears cases in Nashville, Knoxville or Jackson, but several times each year, they bring the Court’s docket to another community for SCALES, which stands for Supreme Court Advancing Legal Education for Students.

The program’s purpose is to provide an opportunity for students to experience firsthand the path a Supreme Court case follows and the effort required to bring a case before the state’s highest court. More than 25,000 students from 460 high schools have participated in the program since its inception in 1995.

The following schools will have students participating: 

  • Bethel University
  • Carroll Academy
  • Carroll County Technical Center
  • Clarksburg School
  • Hollow Rock-Bruceton Central High School
  • Huntingdon High School
  • McKenzie High School
  • Riverside High School
  • West Carroll Senior High School
Justice Janice Holder, Justice Sharon Lee, Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice William Koch, and Justice Cornelia Clark of the Tennessee Supreme Court will hear cases at Bethel University April 10, 2014.