Americans have been hearing a lot about the highest court in the land in recent days, with the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and confirmation hearings for John Roberts set to begin today (Sept. 12).

Just what the filling of two new robes on the Supreme Court will mean to the country in years ahead will be taken upamong other topicsat 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at a free public forum.

The Supreme Court: Whats at Stake?will be at 7 p.m. in the main courtroom of the Monongalia County Courthouse, 243 High St., Morgantown.

The gathering, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by WVU s Center for Womens Studies, the Morgantown Chapter of the National Organization for Women and the West Virginia Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

Panelists are Ruth Martin, deputy field director of People for the American Way Foundation; Caprice Roberts, associate professor, WVU College of Law; and the Rev. Jim Lewis, representing clergy and laity concerns, including pro-faith, pro-family and pro-choice issues.

While the panel will discuss the particulars of nomination and confirmation process of the court, it will also consider Robertsrecordand the courts ideological balance in future years related to civil rights, womens rights and other critical issues.

A question-and-answer session will follow, and contact information for West Virginia lawmakers Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller will also be provided.

For more information, contact Jessi Kalvitis, WVU Center for Womens Studies, 304-293-2339, ext. 1153.