Day 182: Hear a Supreme Court argument

2 Jul

This is truly one of those “only in Tallahassee” things to do. The Florida Supreme Court is in downtown Tallahassee and regularly hears arguments on cases before them. They are open to the public, free to attend and pretty entertaining. You can find out when the oral arguments are by checking this website. When you walk in to the Supreme Court, you will be confronted with an X-ray machine and metal detector. I was asked to turn in my phones but not my laptop. After successfully passing through the detector, you cross a rotunda and enter the main courtroom. It has simple benches for spectators and desks closer to where the justices sit for the attorneys arguing their cases. The room wasn’t very crowded and it was easy to find a seat. One thing that struck me about the experience is how frozen in time it seemed. There was no indication around me that we lived in a very technologically savvy time. No one (but me) brought laptops. They attorneys just used a few simple notes and most spoke extemporaneously. You do get a sense of how the justices differ from one another, by their demeanor and questions they ask. They aren’t just judicial robots, each has their own personality that comes through. One nice thing about oral arguments is they are blessedly brief. Each side was given about 20 minutes, though they were allowed to go over a bit. There are other amenities to the Supreme Court building, such as a nice law library. Overall, it’s a really neat way to participate in history as it unfolds and I suspect would be a good learning opportunity for older children.

Address: 500 South Duval Street

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