Texas Supreme Court Hearings at SHSU

As the sun rose, the Ambassadors awoke and prepared for the day by suiting up and heading to the Gaertner Performing Arts Center.  While some time was available for coffee, when the clock struck 8:30, all Ambassadors hustled to their posts. Some Ambassadors helped police officers at the Concert Hall entrance…

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

…others greeted guests, and others provided what was needed for the Justices before the hearings.

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

At 9:30 in the morning, the crowd lined up outside eager to watch the two cases being heard.

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

With Marshal Blake Hawthorne announcing “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, All Rise,” the TXSC Justices entered SHSU–for the first time ever–to hear a case.

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

The first wave of attendees watched a case involving a heart surgeon filing a suit against his contractor over a wrongful termination charge. It was an interesting case, with much discussion over how to calculate earning, when cause was or wasn’t needed, and what records were used for dismissal.

The second hearing was one that some found a bit more difficult to follow. It concerned a business appealing jury instructions on a second trial that was given to the employee who had previously been awarded monetary damages for being injured on the job. Although a bit technical, throughout the two cases students and other attendees were captivated by the court’s performance.

All were attentive to the Justices’s interrogation, the attorneys’ responses, and, in short, the judicial process. Part of the SHSU Moot Court team attended the hearings and took notes on how the legal representation addressed the Justices’ concerns and questions to hopefully use in the upcoming Moot Court season.

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Osler McCarthey

Apart from the judicial process, it was a point of satisfaction for Keith Coogler and his construction management students, who successfully built the judicial bench for the hearings.  It was an impressive feat, one commented on by the attorneys (“Wow”) and the Justices, who said they felt “right at home.”

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Keith Coogler

Following the hearings, the Justices graciously posed for photos with the Ambassadors.

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

The Justices also posed with a group of exchange students from China…

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

…the GPAC staff…

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

…and their security detail.

Texas Supreme Court, LEAP Ambassadors, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics

It was a wonderful opportunity.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to news stories, having contributed more than 50 pieces in the past year. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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