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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Supreme Court Hearing

So I heard my first Supreme Court case this morning. It was actually a lot more interesting and friendly than I expected. I expected the justices to sit and listen to long-winded lawyers drone on and then maybe ask for a clarification or two. Rather, it was a more informal back and forth discussion between the lawyers and justices. The process reminded me a great deal of the debate tournaments I have judged for our homeschool group.

The State's lawyer was given eight minutes to speak, the other lawyer for our side (the side of all that is right and good in this world, as I like to call them) was allotted three minutes. The Missouri State Medical Association lawyer (the side of personified evil and greed, of course) was given fifteen minutes, after which, our side had four minutes of rebuttal. This might sound like not very much time, except that, I have learned through the debate tournaments that even three minutes can be used in such a way that a tremendous amount of information can be shared. Ahh, unless you happen to be interrupted every fifteen seconds by one justice or another asking you a question! Both sides did a pretty good job of returning to their main points after each question, but the court certainly guided the discussion.

My initial thoughts (those of a person watching her first case, mind you) are that at least three of the justices had made up their mind before we began. Two against us, and one for. The others seemed to be less opinionated and possibly more open minded. I am obviously partial to our side, but will admit that we need some help from justices who don't want to interfere in the legislative process unless really necessary. Our argument is that without this provision making them legal, midwives can not be covered by health insurance. Only one thing would have been needed, in my opinion to make this an open and shut case. One sentence after the one that said anyone certified with a CPM can practice that said they may then apply to be covered by health insurance. Unfortunately, in the last-minute rush to get the bill passed, Senator Loudon didn't think to add that.

Ever the optimist, I hold out hope that the court finds in our favor and the legislature passes the licensure bill, so we are double-covered!

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