CHARLESTON -– A 27-minute documentary about the history of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, the Supreme Court Chamber designed by architect Cass Gilbert, and the structure of the West Virginia court system will be debuted at 6 p.m. September 2 at the West Virginia Culture Center.

"Foundation of Justice: Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia" will be shown to an audience of invited guests at the conclusion of the West Virginia State Bar's annual reception for the Supreme Court on the first day of its Fall Term of Court.

The press is invited to join the Court's guests to watch the film after the Bar reception ends.

The film will be shown to the public at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 3 on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

The Supreme Court in September 2007 agreed to fund the film, which was produced by MotionMasters of Charleston and completed late this spring. It is narrated by Justice Thomas McHugh.

Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury suggested McHugh would be perfect for the project long before anyone knew about Justice Joseph P. Albright's illness, or that then-Senior Status Justice McHugh would be appointed to fill in for him either during his illness or after his death.

"I wanted to narrate the film," McHugh said. "I felt very close to the judicial branch of government. I wanted to do my part to tell others about the judicial branch.

"I really wanted to see our history more documented. Our history has been lost sometimes. I wanted to give those who follow us a glimpse of how we performed our duty to West Virginia."

The DVD is designed to be the length of about one class period, plus allow for some discussion time. McHugh made a presentation about the DVD to the West Virginia Board of Education on Aug. 13, and he received the Board's permission to distribute it to state schools.

The Supreme Court since has sent copies to middle school West Virginia studies teachers and high school teachers of civics, history and law courses, in both public and private schools. Accompanying class activities are available on the Supreme Court Web site at

Members of the Court staff are working with the West Virginia Civics Literacy Council on coordinating use of the DVD with Constitution Day activities. Constitution Day is Sept. 17.

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