How SCALES Works
After the Supreme Court approves the request, a conference coordinator plans several meetings with the presiding judge, teachers and volunteer attorneys. A date is then scheduled for the court to come to that district.
All local high schools and home school associations within the local judicial district are invited to participate in SCALES, with a limited number of students attending from each school. The teachers are encouraged to bring students from government and civic classes to SCALES. Each case is a real lower court case appeal that has been selected by the Tennessee Supreme Court.
At a teacher/volunteer attorney in-service, an appellate court judge discusses the judicial process and summarizes each case. In addition, educational materials are handed out for teachers to take back to their classroom. Volunteer attorneys are paired with a teacher and a classroom visit is scheduled so that they may discuss the case and the judicial system with students as well as answer any questions that the students may have, prior to the day of the oral arguments.
On the, day of SCALES, the students come to the appointed courtroom to watch oral arguments from both the arguing attorney’s of their designated case. After the court hears that case, a debriefing of the case occurs with the arguing attorneys. Students have the opportunity to ask the arguing attorneys questions regarding the case and arguments.
A luncheon is usually scheduled where the Justices mingle with the students, teachers and volunteers. Afterwards, the court’s opinion will be sent out to the teachers and volunteer attorneys. Attorneys may go back to the schools to discuss the opinion if the attorney and teacher so choose.