Minnesota Supreme Court Visits Albert Lea

Albert Lea High School had the honor of welcoming the Minnesota Supreme Court on October 6th. ALHS students had the opportunity to listen to an oral argument and interact with the justices.

“The court itself wanted to come to Albert Lea,” said Albert Lea-Freeborn Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Randy Kehr. “They contacted me.”

According to Kehr, this opportunity allows students and community members to put a face on what is usually a secretive process. All seven justices were in attendance but David Lillehaug recused himself from the proceedings.

The case involved Nicole LaPoint, an orthodontic assistant with seven years of experience, who claims a job offer at Family Orthodontics was rescinded due to her pregnancy in 2013.

“For students to realize these are just people,” Mark Grossklaus,  ALHS principal, said. “There is more than just what we see on TV.”

Students got a chance to ask the justices questions. They learned things from how they became a Supreme Court justice, to what their favorite kind of case was.

“I think this informed a lot of people on what the law system is,” junior Spencer Indrelie, a student host said. “I gained a greater knowledge of the law and how it works.”

Twenty-five students were asked to host the justices. Their duties included giving them tours of the school, providing information and hospitality. The justices ate two meals with the student hosts.

“I liked eating lunch with them, we had some pretty fun conversations,”  Indrelie said.

Nearing full capacity, the auditorium was filled with students grades 10-12. Showing respect for the judges, the students remained quiet and didn’t cause any disruptions during the case.

“I am proud of how our student’s behaved during oral arguments,” Grossklaus said.