Daily Camera (Boulder)

Students witness arguments

- By Shelly Bradbury

Colorado Supreme Court Justice Carlos Samour Jr. quizzed the line of ninth-grade boys seated before him in the auditorium at Pomona High School in Arvada on their names, ages and what they might want to do when they grow up.

Anyone want to go to law school?

“No, law school is too expensive,” one boy piped up.

Samour leaned against the auditorium seat and surveyed the boys' 14- and 15-year-old faces. Then he told them of immigratin­g to the United States from El Salvador when he was 13.

“When I came here, I didn't speak English, I didn't have any friends and I didn't know the culture,” he told them, encouragin­g them to apply for scholarshi­ps and work hard. “We didn't have any money either … If you guys are interested, whatever you are interested in, you can do it.”

The meetings between small groups of students and the state's Supreme Court justices came after the justices literally held court in the school's auditorium Tuesday.

The Colorado Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments in two cases at the school before an audience of students and staff as part of the judicial branch's Courts in the Community initiative, an outreach program that brings the state's high court to various different settings. The initiative began in 1986, was put on hold for the coronaviru­s pandemic, and returned for the first time since COVID-19 on Tuesday.

“One of my least favorite parts of this job is we don't get to see people as often as we do in the trial court,” Justice William Hood told the students. “We are kind of hidden away in offices and it's nice to be out in the community with all of you. This is kind of a special thing for all of us, especially as we come out of the pandemic.”

A few students dozed through the two hours of dense oral arguments, but others paid close attention and asked relevant questions of the attorneys after the arguments concluded.

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