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Supreme Court postpones Justices Teaching Institute, promotes Court Connections Wednesday, September 9, 2020


The North Dakota Supreme Court has postponed its Justices Teaching Institute until October 2021. The judicial outreach program for North Dakota secondary history, government, and social studies teachers was schedule for Oct. 22-23 at the State Capitol in Bismarck.

After much review, the court decided it was not prudent to have teachers from across the state come together for in-person learning given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual session was considered but rejected as inadequate in fostering the program goal of having direct interaction between teachers and justices.

The Justices Teaching Institute was developed under the direction of Justice Mary Muehlen Maring in 2006 to create a better civic understanding of the role of the courts, how they work, and how judges make decisions.  The Institute, taught and facilitated by the five justices, enables teachers to teach others with confidence about the nature, history, structure, function, and processes of the courts and the legal system.  The day-and-a-half program lets teachers explore the judicial system and the criminal court process in the context of preparing for the Institute's final application – a mock oral argument where the teachers serve as justices.


The North Dakota Judicial Branch offers other outreach to schools through Court Connections. Judges and justices are available to virtually visit classrooms through the Courtrooms2Classrooms program. More information about the court’s outreach programs can be found on the court’s website at

To schedule a virtual judicial visit contact Lee Ann Barnhardt, Director of Education, at 701-220-7847 or