It’s looking like a quiet election – Supreme Court justice, one referendum, and is our county executive on the ballot, too? Must find out.
However (you knew there would be a “however” didn’t you?) this election is important. Aren’t they all? Yes, in a word. The referendum allows the majority party to appoint the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. Whoa, there. Checks and balances, anyone? The judicial branch of our government has a purpose, and that purpose is not to beef up the majority.
We stepped into the Supreme Court chambers on our tour of the Capitol on Thursday. This tour felt very different to me, I’m sure, than it did to the students. I looked around the room and imagined the seven justices, remembered how one nearly strangled another (literally, folks, not figuratively), thought about the longevity of the current Chief Justice and how her extensive experience and knowledge could be lost if the governor’s lackeys decided he should replace or reconfigure her position.
I was pleased with the questions our students asked. They were observant, thoughtful, and appropriate. One spotted a brass circle on each Senator’s desk. The guide explained that those round pieces covered what used to be inkwells. The desks were original, and had come through generations of inkwells and ball point pens and now, iPads and laptops. My reaction? Pride that a young person had been curious enough to notice a detail and question it.
A few of our young people had the experience of sitting in Power Seats. Tyler sat in the Senate Majority Leader’s chair. Maggie sat in the governor’s chair in his conference room. I reminded them both that with power comes responsibility. And even though the kids and their parents chuckled at the statement, I saw each student nod in agreement.
They may be too young to vote, but they’re already thoughtful, curious, observant and- dare I hope — dedicated enough to want to make a difference someday.
That’s the best result to come out of a field trip – a look ahead to the future.