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Supreme Court's LAWS program a win-win situation

The State Supreme Court is coming to Clarksburg on March 22. It's part of the LAWS program -- Legal Advancement for West Virginia Students. It's a great idea and we believe it can benefit not just the students who will attend, but the justices, as well.

The high court will sit in the Harrison County Courthouse and hear arguments in four cases that are being appealed. As many as 350 students from the county's high schools will be on hand to watch the proceedings, and we can't help but think that it will have a lasting impact.

The program is the brainchild of Chief Justice Robin Davis. She came up with the idea a couple years ago.

"I think this is a fabulous educational experience for the students and a wonderful opportunity for the court because we all get to interact," she said. "It's a win-win situation."

Indeed it is. For many, whether they are students or adults, the courts can be distant and remote. This will give the students the chance to get up close and personal with members of the highest court in the state.

They will find that a Supreme Court session can not only be interesting, but entertaining, too. When oral arguments are presented, justices have a tendency to ask tough, pointed questions. For most lawyers, it can be a nerve-wracking experience.

The court held its first session last year in Raleigh County and, with the efforts of Circuit Judges Tom Bedell and Lewis Marks, the justices decided to come to Harrison County.

We often have the impression that today's young people don't much care about what's going on in the world. But we've found that not to be the case. Robert C. Byrd High School senior Natalie Nardelli, who is in Gary Poling's political science class, says she can't wait to go.

"I think most of the kids in the class are there because we're really interested in government and what's happening in West Virginia. Anytime that you get to see something in person, it makes a bigger impact," she said.

As for the justices, they'll not only be putting in a day's work, they'll also serve as teachers. They'll have lunch with the students and discuss what happened during the arguments.

The high court is to be commended for taking its act on the road. For all we know, there may be some future justices sitting in the audience on March 22.

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