Supreme Court prepares to visit Marshall

By Chris Dickerson | Sep 7, 2012


HUNTINGOTN – The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals will return to Marshall University's Huntington campus to conduct a session that includes four cases.

The Court's appearance on Tuesday, Sept. 18, will be its fifth in the past eight years at Marshall, but first since 2009. It is one of the many events to be staged during Constitution Week at MU, which begins Monday, Sept. 10, and concludes Thursday, Sept. 27.

The docket for the Supreme Court's visit can be found at the Court's website. The session begins at 10 a.m. in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the session and a reception honoring the judges which follows in the Performing Arts Center lobby. In addition to hors d'oeuvres, pizza will be served.

The five Supreme Court justices hear appeals of decisions over all matters decided in the circuit courts, including criminal convictions affirmed on appeal from magistrate court and appeals from administrative agencies.

Chief Justice Menis Ketchum is a former member and chairman of Marshall University's board of governors.

Obstructing an officer, negligence and first-degree murder convictions will be appealed during the session. A simple way to describe the other case to be heard, which is actually the first on the docket, is, "Can my neighbor order my dog killed?" It deals with dog-related injuries sustained by a 2-year-old girl.

"It is a very interesting docket," said Dr. Alan Gould, director of the John Deaver Drinko Academy at Marshall, which sponsors Constitution Week activities. "We invite all students, faculty and members of the community to join us as the Court hears and rules on these noteworthy appeals."

Constitution Week at Marshall is an annual observance to commemorate the adoption of the United States Constitution and the contributions of Chief Justice John Marshall, for whom the university is named. Constitution Week activities are sponsored by the John Deaver Drinko Academy.

Gould said Constitution Week was started by former U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd to draw attention to the important document that our system of government is based upon.

"Included within federal legislation that was passed in 2004 was a provision requiring educational institutions that receive federal funds to set some time aside on or near the September 17th anniversary of the document's signing to study the United States Constitution," he said.

Highlighting the other events planned during Constitution Week is a slightly revamped quoits tournament. Quoits, which is similar to horseshoes, was John Marshall's favorite sport.

On Sept. 10, teams of faculty, staff, students, fraternities and sororities can sign up to play for trophies and prizes. To sign up, participants need to stop by the quoits pits on the west end of Buskirk Field between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. that Monday, e-mail Kristen Pack at, or call her at 304-696-3183. Deadline to register is 5 p.m. that day.

Competition begins Tuesday, Sept. 11, and runs through Thursday, Sept. 13. On Friday, Sept. 14, the winning team will play the Quoits Presidential Round, taking on MU President Stephen J. Kopp in a new competition. That game begins at 11:30 a.m.

On Monday, Sept. 24, as in years past, the President's Invitational Quoits Media Challenge will take place at 11:30 a.m. WSAZ's Tim Irr and Keith Morehouse won the championship last year. All quoits action is on the west end of Buskirk Field. Before the quoits challenge begins, President Kopp will cut the John Marshall birthday cake on the Memorial Student Center plaza.

Here is a look at other Constitution Week events:

* 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17 – Announcement of the winner of the Judge Dan O'Hanlon Constitution Week and John Marshall Celebration Essay competition, John Marshall Dining Room.

* 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 – First of five Amicus Curiae lectures. The guest speaker is Thomas E. Mann, author of New York Times Bestseller, It's Even Worse than It Looks: How The American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism, Marshall Foundation Hall.

* 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 – The Robert C. Byrd Forum on Civic Responsibility. Professor Jean Edward Smith will speak on the topic, History Misconstrued: Marshall, Grant and Eisenhower, Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre.

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