For their last enrichment seminar of the summer, the students in the BBA Summer Jobs Program got to tour the three branches of government by going behind the scenes at the Massachusetts State House and the John Adams Courthouse, which houses the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
The students had a few favorite oddities about which they asked many questions – including the “sacred cod” in the House of Representatives’ chambers, a large fish that hangs from the ceiling. But they also asked many insightful questions about the process of passing a bill through the Legislature and signing it into law. At the courthouse, students got to try out the chairs used by the Supreme Judicial Court Justices.
The students demonstrated the knowledge they have gained about the legal system in their summer positions. When asked about the function of the appeals court, one student replied that its function is to “go back over cases and look for a mistake.”
At the State House, students enjoyed the Great Hall, where flags from cities and towns in Massachusetts hang. At the courthouse, they showed a lot of interest in the Sacco and Vanzetti trial, which resulted in two Italian immigrants being convicted for a murder they may or may not have committed. The two men were put to death.
When one student asked why the court would choose to commemorate that trial in spite of its negative implications for the justice system, she started a conversation between students and the tour guide about what lessons could be gleaned from the infamous case.
This group of Summer Jobs students was the first to take a combined tour of both buildings, and they said it was a worthwhile experience. We will definitely be back next summer!