to Law Wise home page
Greetings from the Kansas Supreme Court and the Kansas Bar Association. This is the first edition of Law Wise for the 2002-2003 school year. With the recent anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our country, the theme of the September edition of Law Wise is America Reflects: Learning Tolerance in Trying Times.
Calendar of Events
I am excited to become a part of the Law Wise team and am looking forward to working with teachers, parents, and anyone interested in bringing law-related education into their schools and communities. With the vast array of issues affecting our youth, especially the questions and fears surfacing after the tragedies of September 11, 2001, it is important that we keep a dialogue open with students to address these issues. The law effects our youth, whether in elementary school or high school, and we hope that Law Wise can help bring law into the classroom in a meaningful way.
We are interested in learning about programs that have worked in your schools and communities, as well as ways you feel that we can help bring law-related education into your areas. I would like to invite anyone with questions, comments or ideas on Law Wise or law-related education to feel free to contact me at email@example.com or (620) 231-5620.
On Thursday, October 3, 2002, the Kansas Bar Association, the Kansas Board of Education, the Kansas Appellate Courts, and teachers throughout the state, will sponsor what we hope to be the first annual "United States Supreme Court Day." The purpose of the day is to give judges in Kansas an opportunity to help educate Kansas students about the Supreme Court of the United States. We have chosen October 3rd because it is the last Thursday before the first Monday in October, the day the United States Supreme Court opens its annual term.
The main part of the activity will be to present the 2002-03 edition of the United States Supreme Court in Review. Developed by the Kansas Court of Appeals and the Kansas Bar Association, the Review presents two or three recent United States Supreme Court cases of interest to students utilizing an interactive approach. The judges and lawyers presenting the program use the Socratic method to explore important issues of constitutional law. The students may play the parts of litigants, lawyers, judges and justices. The students are lead through the exercise by the judge/lawyer presenters and vote on the outcome of the cases. They are then told how the cases were actually decided. Since the program began in 1996, more than 20,000 students have participated in the program. We look forward to what we believe will be an interesting and educational experience. Schools wishing to express an interest in the program or receive information about it can do so by contacting:
Judge G. Joseph Pierron
Kansas Courts of Appeals
301 W. 10th
Topeka, KS 66612-1507
Learning From History -Teaching Tolerance in View of Civil Liberties
In times of crisis, cherished ideals like freedom of speech and civil liberties often collide with issues of national security. Since the horrific events of September 11, 2001, some patriotic Americans have urged their fellow citizens to avoid criticizing the government, while other equally patriotic citizens have encouraged debate and dialogue. At other times in the nation's history, Americans have experienced similar dilemmas. They too looked for ways to balance civil liberties and safety.
In 1941, the United States had suspended almost all trade with Japan in an attempt to persuade Japan to withdraw from China. Later that year, on December 7, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The Japanese also made conquests in the Pacific and near hysteria gripped the West Coast of the United States as people feared the Japanese would attack there. At that time, approximately 112,000 persons of Japanese descent were living on the West Coast, about 70,000 of whom were American citizens.
Within weeks of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Congress passed legislation allowing the President to issue orders restricting the movement of individuals in areas where he felt such restriction was necessary to national security. First, the United States government placed curfews on persons of Japanese descent requiring them to remain in their homes from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The United States government later rounded up thousands of Americans of Japanese descent who lived on the West Coast and placed them into internment camps even though they were not charged with a crime.
A number of Japanese Americans challenged the government's treatment of them. They asked the nation's courts to decide whether a government in time of war can suspend rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. In each case, the courts found that the orders were a valid exercise of power in wartime. In reviewing the justices' opinions, keep in mind how the reality of war can shape the way we, including our Supreme Court justices, evaluate issues.
Case study: Korematsu v. United States
Facts: Fred Korematsu, born in Oakland, California, of Japanese descendants, worked in the San Francisco area before the war started. He had twice tried to enlist in the armed forces, but was turned down for a physical disability. Rather than be separated from his Caucasian girlfriend and placed in confinement after the evacuation order was issued in the spring of 1942, Mr. Korematsu changed his name and ran away. In May, he was arrested in Oakland, California, for violating the curfew and failing to obey evacuation orders. After the lower courts found Korematsu guilty, he appealed his case to the Supreme Court. In 1944, six justices voted to uphold Korematsu's conviction, while three voted to overturn it.
Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson, who voted to uphold the conviction, stated:
Justice Black, who voted to uphold the conviction, explained his decision as follows:
Justice Frank Murphy, who voted to overturn the conviction stated:
In 1982, Fred Korematsu asked the courts to reopen his case. In 1984, a California judge overturned Korematsu's conviction. When asked why he decided to reopen his case forty years after his original conviction, Fred Korematsu replied, "As long as my record stands in federal court, any American citizen can be held in prison or concentration camps without trial or hearing. . . . I would like to see the government admit they were wrong and do something about it, so this will never happen again to any American citizen of any race, creed, or color."
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act, legislation extending a formal apology "on behalf of the nation" to Japanese-Americans who had been held in the wartime detention camps.
See Lesson Plan #1 below for discussion questions about this article.
This article is taken in part from the Facing History website, specifically http://www.facing.org/facing/fhao2.nsf/all/September+Lesson+Civil?opendocument.
Every spring, the Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyer's Division (KBA YLD) offers a statewide mock trial competition to high school students. This year's tournament will offer several regionals across the state, cumulating into a state tournament in which the winner will advance to the national tournament.
The National High School Mock Trial competition began in 1984, and offered students simulated courtroom experience with real lawyers available who will volunteer to help coach their teams. Additionally, lawyers and law professionals will act as the judge and jury during the tournaments. Students in the debate, forensics, government, speech, drama or gifted programs would find this tournament worthwhile and exciting.
Teams for this competition consist of six to eight students and the school can enter as many teams as they would like. Registration fees are minimal, starting at $50.00 for the first team, with $25.00 for each additional team. However, in no event is any school required to pay more that $200.00, no matter the number of teams entered.
The regional tournaments will take place on February 28 - March 1, 2003, and the state tournament will occur on March 21-22, 2003. Registration forms will be available in the near future on the internet, along with a question-and-answer message board, FAQ's, helpful information and several other features which we will be developing. More information will be available in future issues of Law Wise.
Eric G. Kraft is the director for the tournament this year and can be reached via telephone at (913) 451-5109 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact him or Btissam Hmamouch, KBA Public Services Director at (785) 234-5696 or by email at email@example.com.
Anh - Linh Trinh of Kansas City, Kansas, has won top honors in the Sixth Annual "Images of Freedom" student photography competition sponsored by the American Bar Association. The Images of Freedom competition gives students the opportunity to create powerful images that express how they view freedom and the laws that protect them and their communities every day.
The Piper High School senior student won second place for an untitled picture depicting the image of a girl holding a gavel over the façade of a courthouse. Trinh, 18, said, "Over a long period of time different people, regardless of race, gender, age, disabilities or religion, have strived for a pathway to equal justice. My photograph depicts how women have determined to achieve equal protection under the law."
As part of Law Day, which is observed on May 1, student competitors send in their original photographs depicting the Law Day theme. This year's theme is "Celebrate Your Freedom: Assuring Equal Justice for All." Established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, Law Day celebrates the American heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law. It provides an opportunity to help students and the public understand how the law protects their freedoms. More than just a day to reflect on this nation's legal heritage, Law Day is a call to action that often encompasses weeks of programs and activities conducted by schools, bar associations, courts, and civic groups.
Anh - Linh Trinh, a senior at Piper High School in Kansas City, Kan.
Took second place in the American Bar Association "Images of Freedom Student Photography Competition".
The ABA has a free newsletter that contains information on law-related education. Law Matters, which reports on developments, ideas, programs, and resources in the field of public education about the law, is published three times each year (winter, summer, fall). For information on ordering, contact the ABA at (312) 988-5735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Law-Related Education Inventory has the following items which might be useful in teaching your students about tolerance, diversity, and civil liberties:
Beyond Hate with Bill Moyer. This video is geared for middle and high school students and chronicles the impact of hate on its victims and focuses on groups working to achieve tolerance and acceptance. Library number 303.38/B468.
The Law-Related Education Inventory has many resources to help teach about law-related topics. To order a catalog, call Btissam Hmamouch at the Kansas Bar Association, (785) 234-5696. The Kansas Bar Association and the lawyers in your community sponsor the Law-Related Education Inventory. The clearinghouse will mail free copies of law-related posters, games, mock trials, booklets, lesson plans, and other aids. It is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The director of the Teachers College Resource Center, which houses the Law-Related Education Inventory, Marla Darby, can be reached at Darbymar@esumail.emporia.edu/
Grade Level: Middle and high school
Analyze the following discussion questions in light of the article above titled Learning From History -Teaching Tolerance in View of Civil Liberties.
Define the words patriotism and loyalty. What is the connection between the two words?
In the Korematsu case, Justice Jackson questions the way the government defined loyalty. How do these words apply to current debates over racial profiling of Muslim and Arab Americans?
What does the term civil liberties mean? Identify the ones that are listed in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Are these rights guaranteed only in peacetime or are they in effect at all times? Which civil liberties were involved in the case described in this reading? How did each justice try to balance those rights and national security? How do their efforts apply to government efforts to balance the rights of Muslim Americans or any other group and national security?
If you are interested in learning more about the battle Japanese Americans waged in the courts, you may wish to read the oral histories of two individuals involved in that struggle: Mitsuye Endo (of Ex Parte Mitsuye Endo) and Minoru Yasui, who challenged the legality of the curfew. The two stories are recorded in And Justice for All: An Oral History of the Japanese American Detention Camps by John Tateishi (Random House, 1984). Yasui also tells his story to his niece in a documentary for the American Experience entitled A Family Gathering.
Grade Level: Middle school
Some students want to express their feelings about September 11th, while others do not want to talk about it at all. A sixth grade teacher in Chicago, Illinois, encouraged students to write about their experiences and launched a project she called 'Hard Times.' The students were required to interview someone who had lived through a difficult experience in the 20th century (they were not allowed to interview anyone about 9/11). They learned about oral history techniques and then got to work on the project. The final product contained four components; an introduction by the student why he or she chose this 'hard time", an introduction about who their interview subject was, the interviewee's account of their experience in his or her own words, and a conclusion which required the student to reflect on what they learned through doing this project. The subject matter was tremendous. The experiences included parents being tortured by the KGB in the Soviet union during the early 1980s, powerful Holocaust survivor accounts, the reflections of an Israeli mother of a young baby during the Gulf War, and some amazing accounts of soldiers that fought during World War II, Vietnam and life in Chicago during the Depression.
This lesson plan was adapted from the Facing History website: http://www.facing.org/facing/fhao2.nsf/all/September+11+Menu?opendocument. This specific lesson can be found at http://www.facing.org/facing/fhao2.nsf/all/classroom+08?opendocument.
Grade level: Elementary
We often think that teaching children about diversity is a long and difficult task. However as the following exercise shows, it can be as simple as peeling a lemon:
Gather a group of young children and give them lemons, one lemon for each child. Tell them to `get to know your lemon." The children will examine their lemons-smell them, touch them, throw them in the air, and roll them around. After a few minutes, take the lemons back and collect them in a big basket. Next, ask the children to find their lemons from among the bunch. Remarkably, most recognize their lemons at once. Some may even get protective of them.
Next, ask the children to describe how they recognized their lemons. The responses are always varied. "My lemon was a big lemon," one might say. "My lemon was a perfect lemon," says another. And another, "My lemon had dents and bruises." This launches the discussion about how people are like that-different sizes, different shapes, different shades of color, different "dents and bruises."
After exploring those ideas, collect the lemons again. This time, peel the lemons and return them to the basket without their protective skin. Now tell the children to again find their lemon. Presented with this quandary, the children's reactions are always precious. "But the lemons all look the same!" they'll exclaim. This opens the door to a discussion of how people, much like the lemons, are pretty much the same on the inside.
While it may take only 15 minutes and a bowl of lemons to teach young children about diversity, it takes a conscious effort and a lifetime of attention to ensure that lesson is remembered.
This lesson plan was taken from the Anti-Defamation League website at http://www.adl.org/issue%5Feducation/hateprejudice/prejudice7.asp. The root directory is located at http://www.adl.org/adl.asp.
The Kansas Court of Appeals, a ten-member, intermediate appellate court sits in three-judge panels. The court is pleased to have students attend the hearings. The Court of Appeals will next be hearing cases in Topeka, Kansas City, KS, and Wichita in October. The Topeka hearings will be Oct. 15-16 in the Court of Appeals Courtroom in the Judicial Center. The Kansas City hearings will be Oct. 16 in the Wyandotte County Courthouse. Two panels will hear arguments in Wichita Oct. 16-17. Those hearings will be in both the Sedgwick County Courthouse and the historic Sedgwick County courthouse across the street.
The Kansas Supreme Court is the highest court in the state, and includes seven members. Students also are welcome at oral arguments before the Supreme Court. The high court holds its hearings only in Topeka. The Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments during the weeks beginning Oct. 21 and Dec. 4, 2002; and Jan. 21, Mar. 3, Apr. 14, and May 27, 2003. If you have any questions concerning the Kansas appellate courts, or if you would like to bring your class to either the Kansas Supreme Court or the Kansas Court of Appeals, teachers may contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, 301 West 10th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66612-1507, (785) 296-4872, for assistance. You can also contact Mr. Keefover via email at email@example.com.
Law Wise is published by the Kansas Bar Association during the school year. The Kansas Bar Foundation, with Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts funding, provides support for this publication. Published free, on request, for teachers or anyone interested in law-related education, it is edited by Crystal Marietta, Pittsburg, (620) 231-5620. For further information about any projects or articles, contact Ron Keefover, Education and Information Officer of the Office of Judicial Administration, Topeka, (785) 296-4872, or Btissam Hmamouch, Public Services Director of the Kansas Bar Association, Topeka (785) 234-5696. Law Wise is printed at the Kansas Bar Association, 1200 Southwest Harrison, P.O. Box 1037, Topeka, Kansas 66601-1037.