There’s no indication why Brainerd received the honor but we’re certainly pleased with the Minnesota Supreme Court’s announcement that it will hear oral arguments at Tornstrom Auditorium Oct. 12.
The judicial system is the least understood of our state’s three branches of government and anything that can be done to demystify that process is a positive move. The court system has a protocol that’s there for legitimate reasons, but all too often it fails to connect with the average citizen.
The Minnesota Supreme Court should be commended for its community outreach program that has sent justices out on the road to hear cases since 1995. The justices wisely realize they serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court and not the Twin Cities Supreme Court. The panel’s decisions affect us all but we suspect few Minnesotans could identify many of the court’s seven members or state where the court’s chamber is located.
The Supreme Court’s visit will kick off with a community dinner (at a cost of $12 to $14) at Central Lakes College at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 where participants may meet the justices. The next day, Oct. 12, the court will hear oral arguments from attorneys at Tornstrom Auditorium at Washington Education Services Building. The court session is a rare opportunity for students and perhaps a limited number of interested Brainerd citizens to see the court in action. As a bonus, the justices will be available for a 45-minute question and answer session after the case is heard. While they won’t address specifics of the case they just heard they will answer general questions.
There are benefits, as well, for the justices when they visit outstate Minnesota. Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson, who announced the visit earlier this month while he was in Brainerd, said he may take his bike out on the Paul Bunyan Trail to see what type of use the trail sees in the Brainerd area. Anderson wrote the opinion for the court’s decision in State v. Hess, which pitted the DNR against property owners in Hubbard County with land adjacent to the state trail. The Supreme Court ruled in the DNR’s favor, keeping the trail system open to the public.
The justices’ visit to Brainerd will be Supreme Court’s 34th traveling site and their fourth time the court has visited the Ninth Judicial District.
Welcome, justices. We’re eager to watch you at work.