High court hits the road
Justices give students a view from the bench
Laconia High School student Bethany Gasper asks a question to attorneys at the NH Supreme Court On the Road series at Concord High School on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Apellate defender David Rothstein makes an argument before the state Supreme Court — from left, justices Robert Lynn, Gary Hicks, Linda Dalianis, Carol Ann Conboy and James Bassett — at Concord High School on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
Chief Justice Linda Dalianis said justices each spend 40 to 60 hours a week working, devouring hundreds of pages of legal briefs and court opinions to prepare for upcoming appeals they normally hear on the other side of the Merrimack River.
Giving a glimpse into the court's decision-making process, Associate Justice Robert Lynn said each justice studies the cases before oral arguments and Lynn said he sometimes forms an "inclination" of how he tentatively feels before hearing the case. But oral arguments from attorneys and later conferences with his colleagues sometimes sway him the other way.
The luck of the draw determines who will write a given opinion.
"Just because one of us writes the opinion does not mean that the four others don't have a large influence and question," Conboy said. "We go back and forth and we may do draft after draft to really make sure all of us are comfortable with whatever the assigned judge writes."
"I think it was very inspiring and educational," Soule said of the 2-1/4-hour hour session.
"My teacher says I should be a lawyer, so that's why I came," Bourgeois said. "Whenever I have a debate, I try to prove my point."
This marked the 15th "On the Road" session with the state's top court. The texting case was specifically scheduled for this event, said court Public Information Officer Carole Alfano.
"Some of the arguments were different than I would expect," he said.
Asked what he took away from the event, Zavorotny said: "I'm not going to court."
And inside the auditorium named for the teacher-turned-astronaut who died in the explosion aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, Dalianis said McAuliffe "was my best childhood friend — an odd little piece of inside baseball."
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