Law Day Dialogues 2018

The following conversation starters are designed for use by lawyers, judges, teachers, and other community leaders to facilitate discussions with community members and students on the 2018 Law Day theme, Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom. Each conversation starter features:

  • a framing question (see questions in the section below),
  • a short backgrounder explaining the larger issues for consideration,
  • selected discussion topics, and
  • a variety of resources and case studies to help guide discussions, including short videos, newspaper articles and op-eds, landmark court cases, and political cartoons.


Framing Questions on Separation of Powers

Click on each question for backgrounders, supporting questions and discussion topics.


Framing Question 1: Does the U.S. Constitution outline a national government with three parts?

Framing Question 2: Are the three branches of the national government equal in their powers?

Framing Question 3: What role does the administrative state play in American government, especially in relation to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches?

Framing Question 4: Can Courts Enforce Their Rulings?

Framing Question 5: Do Political Parties Support or Undermine the Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances?

Framing Question 6: Could the Chief Justice Serve Simultaneously as Secretary of State?


About the ABA Dialogue Program

Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom, Conversation Starters is the sixteenth annual edition of the ABA Dialogue Resource Guide. The American Bar Association Dialogue Program provides lawyers, judges, teachers, and other civic leaders with the resources they need to engage participants and community members in discussions of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy introduced the first Dialogue program, the Dialogue on Freedom, in 2002. Subsequent Dialogues have addressed Brown v. Board of Education, the American jury, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Miranda warning, and the Fourteenth Amendment, among others.


Click here to view past Dialogues.