Students, judges, lawyers, and reporters participate in Constitution Day

September 20, 2010
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This post was written by IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger

If you have a few minutes, fill out this “treasure hunt” regarding the different articles, sections, and amendments of the U.S. and Indiana constitutions that discuss certain issues such as religion, slavery, arms, suffrage, freedom of speech, trial by jury, and education.

How did you do?

That was the same task assigned to students from Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, Indian Creek High School, Emmerich Manual High School, Lawrence North High School, Franklin Home School Group, and other home school groups in the Indiana Supreme Court’s courtroom on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on that day in 1787.

Armed with their own pocket versions of the U.S. and Indiana constitutions, students were broken into small discussion groups about these topics led by various law clerks and court staff from around Indianapolis, including journalists like myself and IL editor and publisher Rebecca Collier.

Also on hand to speak with students were Elizabeth Osborn, assistant to the chief justice for court history and public education, and Kathryn Dolan, public information officer, who gave a welcome and explained why the court hosts students to celebrate Constitution Day; Dan Carden, Indiana Statehouse reporter for the Times of Northwest Indiana, who talked about how rights in the constitutions affect everyday citizens by protecting members of the press and the public; statehouse reporter Maureen Hayden for CHNI News Service led a reading of the U.S. Constitution’s preamble and the Bill of Rights; and Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale J. Bradford and U.S. District Court Judge Larry J. McKinney discussed how the U.S. Constitution affects the daily lives of citizens, including the students in the room, whether they think about it very often or not.

To watch the speakers address the students as a whole, visit the Courts in the Classroom website for a webcast from that day.

Students who were or would be 18 by election day on Nov. 2 were also given a chance to register to vote and ask questions of a representative from the Secretary of State’s office, who was on hand at the end.

In my group of AP Government students from Emmerich Manual High School, most students seemed to know the more obvious answers, but I was also impressed by their understanding of the way the two constitutions are similar yet different, based on what they’ve learned from their teacher.

While Constitution Day is meant as a way for students to take some time to learn or relearn the role the constitution plays in our society on that particular day, it’s obvious that it’s still important the other 364 days of the year. To get involved with civics education in Indiana, check in with a school in your area, or check out the Indiana Bar Foundation’s website. Or if you know a teacher interested in Courts in the Classroom projects, visit the court’s website for info on upcoming events.

And if you took the time to fill out the treasure hunt from earlier – or just want to know the answers – here is the answer key.
 

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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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