Sometimes I wonder about what goes on in the mind of Supreme Court Justices. What really impacts their ruling? Does the society in which we live in shape their decisions or do their decisions shape society? I got the chance to play the role of a Supreme Court Justice in a mock trial today. I am currently attending an academic summer camp for high school students at the University of California, San Diego. I am taking a course called "Law, Politics, and the Supreme Court."
At first, I thought I was just going to be sitting in a classroom listening to lectures and learning a list of law jargon. But, I was wrong. When I stepped into the classroom, I realized I was in for a different experience. For the past couple of days, our class has been doing our own trials on previous Supreme Court cases. We get briefings and play the role of advocates, oracles, and justices. When I was playing the role of a Supreme Court Justice during our mock trial, I felt a sense of power.
When the trial was over, I had to make my decision on the case. Before announcing my verdict, I realized something. Supreme Court Justices are normal people. Their views on issues can change. They are never set in stone. Just because a court makes a ruling, it does not necessarily mean that society will stay that way forever. I came to realize the power of persuasion and remembered Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, "Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel." Things can change, and it is up to the people to speak out. The recent Supreme Court rulings clearly rolled back the civil rights that our country took many years to earn.
When I played the role of an advocate during the next mock trial in class, I was able to persuade my fellow classmates to change their view on an issue.
The recent Supreme Court ruling took a step backward for civil rights, but it can still take many steps forward in the future.
Posted by Jody Leung, high school student