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Students can vie for chance to meet with Supreme Court justice

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State agency announces essay contest

By Ramsey Scott

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be in Denver to help celebrate the ceremonial opening of the new Ralph Carr Colorado Judicial Center in early May. And 100 eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders from Colorado have a chance to build a winning case for wanting to meet her.

The Colorado Judicial Department is asking students to explain why they want to meet one of the top jurists in the country. Kids have until Friday to submit their essays to win a chance to meet with Sotomayor for two hours on the morning of May 2.

"There will be a morning session where the 100 state legislators could bring in a student from their jurisdiction to have a morning meeting with the justice," said Rob McCallum, spokesman for the Colorado Judicial Department. "It's a chance for them to hear her views and ask some questions in an intimate setting."

The 100 students will come from each district represented by the 100 senators and representatives in the Colorado General Assembly and will be selected by a committee from the Judicial Department, McCallum said.

The event is similar to the Colorado courts’ own initiative to hear cases and meet with students several times a year at schools across Colorado. Events like this are important, not only to connect students to the Colorado judicial system, McCallum said, but to provide inspiration to kids who come from poorer districts to stay in school.

"We want to show these kids that anything is possible," McCallum said. "Just look at Justice Sotomayor. She's one person who can speak to students about that opportunity."

Along with Sotomayor, the students will have a chance to meet their legislators. The guest list for the center’s opening ceremony, which will be later that afternoon, features current and former legislators, former governors and other prominent Coloradans.

"I think this is one of those things you're offering people to come and meet and network with people they might not otherwise get to do so," McCallum said.

Students wanting to apply may visit the Judicial Department's website at www.courts.state.co.us/sotomayorevent/.

The Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, located at 2 E. 14th Ave. in Denver, is the new home of the Colorado Judicial Department and the state-level courts.

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.