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VIPP Field Trip to the Michigan Supreme Court

Published: Wednesday, 02 May 2018
Author: VIPP
Department: Visiting International Professional Program

Tuesday, May 1st, was Law day in the U.S. and VIPP visited the Michigan Supreme Court to learn about the government. This year's theme was Separation of Powers: Framework of Freedom. The Michigan Supreme court is the highest court in the State of Michigan and VIPP was not the only group visiting it for Law Day. Many other school groups came to learn all about our government and its systems. 


Participants stand in front of the entrance to the Supreme Court Courtroom. 

The day started in the Courtroom of the Michigan Supreme Court. VIPP participants listened to a speech by the Chief Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Markman. He spoke about the different branches of government, Judicial, Legislative, and Executive. He explained that the Michigan Supreme Court hears about 200 cases a month and the State Supreme Court gets to choose these cases. He asked where members of the group were from and expressed his interest in the different systems between the countries. The students got to pose with the justice in his official robe in front of the stand. 


Chief Justice Stephen J. Martin stands with the group.

Afterwards, the group went into the learning center. They watched a video explaining the three branches in depth and who serves on them. Participants had many trenchant questions following the video. Some of the questions answered were about the three tiers of the court system. The first level is the Trial court. That is where most cases start and end. If the parties are not happy with the results, they may bring it to the Courts of appeal. If they are again not satisfied, they may bring their case to the State Supreme Court, and the court will decide whether they will take the case or if they will let the results from the court of appeal stand. 


The group watches their fellow participants reenact a court case.

The participants also got to act out a trial court case about a traffic ticket. Five participants were chosen to be narrators. There was a Judge arbitrating the case, an Officer taking the case to court, and the defendant, who was caught texting and driving. There was no jury in this example but the staff in the learning center kindly explained how and why the judge would decide this case. The judge makes their decision by looking closely at the wording and conditions of the law that was broken.


The participant acting as the judge read the questions to the defendant. 

This VIPP field trip on law day was a brilliant success. Everyone learned a lot about the U.S. government and gained profound knowledge about the Michigan court systems. VIPP is happy that our participants are so eager to learn more and take part in a community that they are newly a part of. 


The group poses in front of the Michigan Supreme Court.


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