Twenty-one high school teachers from across the nation were selected to work with leading historians, federal judges and curriculum consultants on an intensive exploration of several federal trials through curriculum developed by the FJC and the ABA Division for Public Education. The FJC and ABA partnered to establish the institute in order to give teachers an inside view of federal court cases that never reach the Supreme Court but are significant. Teachers study the essential legal questions each case presents and develop strategies to incorporate judicial history into their school’s history and government curricula.
The landmark federal trials the teachers studied were: The Sedition Trials of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Prohibition-era warrantless wiretapping case of Olmstead v. United States and the Vietnam-era Pentagon Papers Case. All three cases offer teachers an opportunity to explore some of the competing interests called into question in First Amendment cases and to understand how the legal system has sought to balance those interests.
“This institute provides teachers with an extraordinary opportunity to gain insight and access to the federal judiciary through these important historical cases,” said Bruce Ragsdale, director of the Federal Judicial History Office at the FJC.
Mabel C. McKinney-Browning, director of the ABA Division for Public Education, said, “Teachers leave the institute with an informed view of the judiciary, an enriched view of its rich and vibrant history and a renewed sense of the importance of the courts as a co-equal branch of our government.”
One of the institute’s highlights was a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court, where teachers witnessed the justices release three decisions and met with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The teachers also attended a federal court trial, where they participated in a question-and-answer session with a U.S. District Court judge.
The 2014 participants were:
- Jason Burns, Hopkins Academy, Hadley, Mass.
- Carlos Castillo, Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles, Calif.
- Libby Day, Spain Park High School, Hoover, Ala.
- John Downey, Royal High School, Simi Valley, Calif.
- Barbara Fowler, Turning Point Academy, Emporia, Kan.
- Alicia Harris, Crescenta Valley High School, La Crescenta, Calif.
- Leo Janas, Gill St. Bernard’s School, Gladstone, N.J.
- Susan Lampros, Northwest Academy of Law High School, St. Louis, Mo.
- Tramane Marshall, Sierra Linda High School, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Tanya Pastor, Lyndhurst High School, Lyndhurst, N.J.
- Fred Posont, East Rockford Middle School, Rockford, Mich.
- Andrew Prince, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, N.J.
- Lisa Prueter, Newark Charter High School, Newark, Del.
- Tim Root, Essex High School, Essex Junction, Vt.
- Jannah Schwab, Oceana High School, Pacifica, Calif.
- Thomas Scott, Rosemount High School, Rosemount, Minn.
- Maria Skala, South Anchorage High School, Anchorage, Alaska
- Teresa Squires Osborne, Reynolds High School, Troutdale, Ore.
- Sherry Warner Seefeld, Ronald N. Davies High School, Fargo, N.D.
- Mark Wiese, Mankato West High School, Mankato, Minn.
- Melissa Zimmerman, Thunderbird High School, Phoenix, Ariz.
The Federal Judicial Center is the education and research agency for the federal courts. Congress created the FJC in 1967 to promote improvements in judicial administration in the courts of the United States.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.ambar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.