- Associated Press - Friday, September 15, 2017

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is helping Mississippi mark the bicentennial of statehood and its judicial system.

Justice John Roberts is scheduled to be in the state Sept. 27.

Roberts will swear in appeals court staff attorneys and law clerks to practice before the nation’s highest court, according to a news release from the Mississippi Supreme Court. He also will meet with Mississippi appellate judges and will oversee a law school moot court competition.

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In the evening, Roberts will attend a bicentennial banquet with judges, attorneys and law students.

“The visit by the chief justice of the United States demonstrates the importance of the judiciary and legal profession to the effective functioning of our democracy over the past 200 years,” said Bill Waller Jr., chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Mississippi became the 20th state in December 1817.

A state constitution written in 1817 created the state’s first high court, which started meeting in Natchez in 1818 and kept meeting there even after the state capital moved briefly to Columbia and then to Jackson, where it remains. The state Supreme Court news release says the 1826 state General Assembly ordered the court to meet in Monticello, but returned the court to Natchez in 1828.

The 1832 state constitution created the High Court of Errors and Appeals, and the Legislature moved the court to Jackson. The 1868 state constitution renamed it the Supreme Court.

Several events, including concerts, lectures and art exhibits are marking 200 years of statehood.

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History, which share a lobby, are being built near the state Capitol in downtown Jackson. They are set to open Dec. 9 as part of the bicentennial celebration.

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