Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Missoula and the University of Montana have UM law professor Dr. Anthony Johnstone to thank for a rare upcoming visit to the UM Alexander Blewitt III School of Law by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a ‘special sitting’ on April 26, to be held inside the Dennison Theater on campus.

I spoke with UM Director of Strategic Communications Dave Kuntz on Tuesday about this singular honor.

A Rare Opportunity for Missoulians to View the 9th Circuit Court in Person

“The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is going to host a special sitting here at the Blewitt (Law) School on the campus of the University of Montana to hear appeals on two cases in front of the court, similar to how the Montana Supreme Court does,” began Kuntz. “It really provides our students the opportunity to see the legal work in action as they're preparing to head into that field. This is a tremendous opportunity that was certainly made available by Judge Johnstone and we're grateful that he can share that experience with our students.”

Kuntz described the two cases to be heard by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seated here in Missoula.

The 9th Circuit Court will hear both a Criminal and a Civil Case

“The first case is an appeal from a federal prisoner who is looking at a denial motion related to his sentence for drug distribution, so it’s very much in the criminal realm,” he said. “The second case is an appeal of a judgment that an individual is making against a travel insurance company that's related to a class action suit. These are two very different cases in terms of what's being litigated and what's being appealed, which is a great opportunity for our students to see the wide breadth that falls in front of some of these big federal appellate courts.”

Kuntz said this is not a moot court situation; these are very real cases with real repercussions to those involved.

Read More: Montana AG Joins Fight on 9th Circuit Decisions on Homelessness

Get to the UM Theater Early to get a Good Seat. It Starts at 10:00 a.m.

“It's going to be as real as it gets,” he said. “We expect folks to be in the room making their cases. As with a lot of levels of courts now we do have the capability in case there does need to be somebody who joins in remotely. We are prepared to have folks in the room so it feels just like you are in the courthouse, just as if you were to be in San Francisco or Washington, D.C.”

Kuntz had good advice for those who wish to attend this rare court appearance.

“The arguments begin at 10:00 a.m.,” he said. “They will be in the George and Jane Dennison Theater, the former University Theater just off of Connell Avenue at the entrance of campus. We encourage folks to get there early if they want to get a seat.”

There is no admission charge to attend the event.

Get to Know Missoula A to Z

All about Missoula, Montana.

Gallery Credit: Angel