To help create an atmosphere of respect and legitimacy for the court, we use formalities and traditions that give the court a near religious aura. The judges wear robes. The courtrooms are typically formal with liberal use of rich woods and stone. The judge sits higher than anyone in the room. Only certain people may proceed forward beyond "the bar." The parties speak a legal language that sounds foreign to the untrained ear. And, of course, there are the formal opening words, barked out by the appropriate court officer. How many of your students have heard the formal opening words of court?
Click here to go to an audio recording of the opening words of the U.S, Supreme Court sessions.
Click here to go to an NPR report on the sounds of a North Carolina courtroom.