Minus the robes and the tall benches – oh, and the deep wisdom and authoritative grasp of the judicial system — Minnesota’s Supreme Court justices are pretty much like you and me. That was the impression left behind in Brainerd on Tuesday as they rubbed elbows with students at Central Lakes College.
The seven justices turned up in street clothes at the 3,700-student college and spent some time introducing themselves to the audience in the school’s cafeteria before spreading out to chat with students, faculty and onlookers individually.
In keeping with an ongoing focus of the court’s public message in recent years, the justices attempted to underscore the importance of the state’s judicial system and point out that it serves to balance the ambitions of the other two branches of government.
The event, sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, represented a more-or-less annual field trip taken by the justices to visit an area of the state away from the Twin Cities and help the public understand what they do.
“I’m so happy to be in real Minnesota,” said Chief Justice Lorie Gildea. “Outside of the Twin Cities, in other words.”
The justices even took the opportunity to take some good-natured jabs at each other. Asked what the best and worst parts of her job were, Justice Helen Meyer said it was working with the other justices. “Sometimes I’m right and they’re wrong, and that’s annoying,” she said.