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Special Sessions Around the Circuit

February 22, 2024
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Judges from the Fourth Circuit (from left: Henry F. Floyd, Barbara Milano Keenan, & Roger L. Gregory) with judges from the Cherokee Courts (from middle: Chief Justice Kirk G. Saunooke (Cherokee Supreme Court), Chief Judge Thomas N. Cochran & Judge Randle L. Jones (Cherokee Court)) in Qualla Boundary in November 2018.

Did you know that several times per year a panel of judges from the Fourth Circuit conducts oral argument sessions at different locations throughout the Circuit? Thanks to gracious invitations and willing hosts, the Court has or will sit at these law schools during the 2023-2024 court year: Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Court's special sessions are not limited to law schools and have included sessions held at undergraduate colleges/universities, in federal district court houses across the Circuit, and even at the Cherokee Justice Center in Qualla Boundary, North Carolina, a territory of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

These additional court sessions allow students, faculty, and community members to observe oral arguments in their locality and provide an opportunity for connections between local communities and judges and court staff. This practice traces its roots to the late 1700 to 1800s when United States Supreme Court Justices participated in "circuit riding," traveling originally by horseback and carriage to meeting places within the district of a circuit, prior to the appointment of circuit judgeships.

Check out the Court's oral argument schedule for dates and locations. From this link, you can click "Listen to Oral Arguments" to access audio livestreams or audio files posted the following day.

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Judges from the Fourth Circuit (from left: Albert Diaz, Roger L. Gregory, and Stephanie D. Thacker) conduct oral arguments in April 2023 before a classroom audience (right) at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Virginia. Photographs by Traci Evans/ASL Media.