Inside the Supreme Court with Erin Tschida

As a Senior at Stevens Point Area High School, this will be my fourth and, sadly, final year in the Youth in Government program. This will be my second year as president of the Stevens Point Delegation. For the past three years, I have been a member of the Supreme Court. In Supreme Court, we are assigned a case, as well as a side, and prepare an argument (called a brief) to present at Model Government. Last year, some new cases were introduced, many pertaining to current national issues. One such case was Olszanowski v. State of Wisconsin, which dealt with immigration. When not arguing our case, we have the opportunity to sit as justices for other delegates’ cases and decide who wins the case during a deliberation with the other justices. This is a really fun process, and functions like a small group debate or discussion of the merits of both sides’ arguments. Although the justices change on every case, each group is led by the chief or first justice, positions which are elected. In the past, these positions, along with the rest of the leadership positions in our branch, have been elected at our Pre-Gov conference, a few months before Model Gov. This past year, however, the judicial branch, along with other leadership from the conference, decided to make the switch to electing our chief and first justices a year in advance at the end of the previous Model Gov session. We think this will be a positive change and will allow for easier coordination of the program. Another component of the judicial program is judicial review. For the past two years, I have had the pleasure of serving as attorney general, leading the process of judicial review. In judicial review, a committee of 4 to 8 people selects a bill from the Legislative Branch that has potential constitutional violations. Then, we write a case to present at closing ceremonies. It’s a great way of connecting all of the program areas and allows us to show the rest of the state what the judicial program is like. This past year we chose to review a bill that we felt violated the First Amendment by requiring the press to cover the event created by the bill. In the end, the justices ruled that controlling press coverage was unconstitutional, but allowed the rest of the bill to stand. It’s always interesting to see what the cases will be each year, and this year will be no exception.

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