Chief Justice Robin Davis
The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals visits Marshall University in observation of Constitution Week
HUNTINGTON -- A diverse crowd was on hand Tuesday at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse to witness the West Virginia legal system up close and personal.
High school and college students, professors, attorneys, professionals and average citizens filled the auditorium to observe the West Virginia Court of Appeals hear oral arguments in four cases.
The five justices are visiting the Marshall campus this week as part of the annual Constitution Week, a celebration of the founding document and its father, John Marshall.
The event was divided into four blocks with a case being heard in each block, the first of which began at 10 a.m.
Jordan Stafford, a political science major from Ashland, attended the event with his political science class, which is currently studying the Constitution and courtroom procedures.
"Prior to this class I had no desire to see cases in real life or even law itself," he said. "But seeing it unfold in person was actually very interesting."
Stafford's was just one of many classes in attendance for Tuesday's event.
One such class was a large delegation from Fairland High School in Proctorville, Ohio. The males from the school were dressed in three-piece suits while the women wore professional business suits.
Christine Rutherford, a junior at Fairland, was excited for a chance to see a courtroom proceeding for the first time.
"I plan on going to law school and eventually going into malpractice, so this was my chance to see what I'm getting myself into," she said.
Ben Sandy, Marshall's student body president, said he was hopeful students would take advantage of the unique opportunity represented by the justices' visit.
"It's not a common occurrence for the highest court in the state to come to your school and actually hear cases," he said. "The fact they come here shows a mutual respect between them and the university, it's really an honor."
Sandy added that the event's robust attendance indicated there was a good chance many students would be inspired to seek law as a profession.
One of those students is Danielle Clark, a John Marshall scholar who before last year's visit from the justices, had planned on attending medical school.
She said seeing the Supreme Court in action last year prompted her to look into choosing law as her profession.
The four cases heard Tuesday were Virgil Helton, State Tax Commissioner v. MBNA America Bank, Mark Mikesinovich v. Reynolds Memorial Hospital, State of WV v. Norma Jean Saunders, and Ryan v. Clonch Industries, Inc.
The cases were broadcast on the Internet via the Court's Argument Webcast.