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Message from the ABA President

American Bar Association President Paulette Brown discusses the 2015 Constitution Day theme: Citizenship and the Constitution

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2015 Theme: Citizenship and the Constitution


On September 17, the nation marks Constitution Day by reflecting on the U.S. Constitution and the role that we as citizens of this constitutional democracy play in bringing to life the cherished principles enshrined by this great document. From the opening three words of its Preamble – We, the People – the Constitution makes clear that the true power of our nation emanates from and resides with the individuals who make it up.

Constitutional principles and protection provide the framework for our freedoms as well as an avenue from redress when those rights are wrongfully taken from us. Good citizenship includes ensuring the rights of our fellow Americans are being respected. It also means staying informed and participating in our nation’s civic life. If we are truly to have, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Government of the peoples, by the people, for the people,” each of us must play our part.

This Constitution Day, as the nation welcomes new citizens participating in naturalization ceremonies throughout the country, let’s reflect on the meaning of good citizenship and ask ourselves what more we can do to promote civic education and participation in our communities.

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Free Speech Lesson Plans

The ABA Division for Public Education has a number of helpful resources to discuss free speech topics in a clasroom setting. These include:

 

 

The ABA Division for Public Education also publishes a Pocket Guide to the United States Constitution, which makes an excellent giveaway to make your Free Speech Week celebration memorable.  

Other Free Speech Resources

The following is a selection of websites with materials and resources to assist you in planning your celebration of Free Speech Week:

However you plan to celebrate, have a happy Free Speech Week!

 


For Judges: A Model Constitution Day Statement

The ABA Division for Public Education encourages judges to open court on September 17, Constitution Day, with a public statement from the bench on the significance of this crucial document. The model statement we are linking to here was developed by Maryland Judiciary Public Awareness Committee for use by the Maryland judiciary. It is readably adaptable to the needs of any state or federal judiciary. 

 

 


Looking for a way to hold history in your hands? Or do you want a way to help students or other community members connect with the Constitution? The ABA offers a Pocket Guide to the U.S. Constitution

 


 

Students Share Thoughts on the Constitution

In 2012, we took our cameras to Kenwood Academy in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood and asked students to discuss their views on the U.S. Constitution. See what they had to say! 

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