Supreme Court, Southern District announce new summer program for high school students

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The Birch Bayh Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in downtown Indianapolis. (IL file photo)

The Supreme Court Historical Society and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana are launching a new program, “The Supreme Court and My Hometown,” for Indianapolis-area high school students.

According to a Southern District news release, the program will be a weeklong summer day camp for local high school students that will take place at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse June 24-28, 2024. The program will encourage students to interact with their local government and communities based on what they have learned throughout their study.

“The Supreme Court and My Hometown” will engage students in an intensive study of the process and substantive issues of cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. A distinguishing feature of “Hometown” is that students focus on a Supreme Court case that originated in their hometowns and local courts in a unique and personalized way.

The Indianapolis program explores both the constitutional questions as well as the procedural history of Hess v. Indiana (1973).

Students will learn about the role of the Supreme Court and its independence in government, as well as the work of the federal court system. They will also be immersed in an analysis of the facts, trials and appeals that led to the Supreme Court decision.

At the end of the program sessions, students will design an exhibit in the Federal Court Learning Center at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse as a capstone project to further solidify their learning, enhance their creative skills and engage with their community.

The new program will feature presenters and mentors, including Southern District Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt; Indiana Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey G. Slaughter; Zachary Myers, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana; Monica Foster, chief federal defender for the Southern District of Indiana; Ken Falk, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana; and Ray Haberski, professor of history at Indiana University Indianapolis.

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