Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Students Experience Justice at Ohio’s Highest Level

Students from across Cincinnati got an education from the state’s highest court and a glimpse into a possible career path at the 81st session of Off-Site Court.

The Supreme Court of Ohio heard oral arguments in front of students and teachers from six local high schools, Xavier University, and the University of Cincinnati (UC) at the newly renovated UC College of Law.

“In our American republic, citizens understanding the institutions of government is foundational. The judiciary has an important task in our society,” said Chief Justice Sharon L. Kennedy to the audience before oral arguments began.

The Off-Site Court program is designed to teach high school students and community members about the role of the Supreme Court, and how it’s connected to the lower courts in the state’s judicial system. The event provides a unique opportunity to see the appellate process at work and for many, it’s the first time they step into a courtroom.

“I’ve never actually been at a court or seen a court case,” said Malory Wellbrock, a student at the Spencer Center for Gifted and Exceptional Students who is thinking about a career in law. “It was really interesting to see all the people behind the scenes with the Supreme Court and the law school, not just the justices and lawyers.”

Wellbrock is considering the law because she likes the ideals of advocacy and defending people’s rights. Off-Site Court provided the opportunity to watch and learn about all sides in a legal argument through a Supreme Court case.

The Supreme Court’s Civic Education team provides each school with materials about the appellate process and the specifics of each oral argument. On the day of the event, students have the chance to speak directly with the justices about the court system, the work that goes into each decision, and being active citizens.

“You have a voice in this republic, and you should exercise it,” Chief Justice Kennedy told the students.

The justices also advise the students to keep an open mind, respect opposing minds, and use their critical thinking skills.

“That was a lot of information to process,” said Wellbrock about the 30-minute debate. “It was really helpful to talk to the attorneys after the case to see what they were trying to prove.”

The teen appreciates the education she received from Off-Site Court because it allowed her to see the work of the Court, justices, and lawyers to better understand their roles in the justice system. It’s valuable knowledge as a student, future voter, and potential attorney.

“I just want to make sure that I can make an impact with whatever I’m doing with my life, and I think the law would be a great way to do that,” Wellbrock said.