Monday, December 8, 2014

Get Ready to Celebrate Your Rights

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day. It’s the day to celebrate the individual liberties that our U.S. Constitution protects.

The U.S. Constitution was written in 1787 and ratified in 1789.  Throughout the 227 years of its existence, it has been amended 27 times to meet current needs.
The first 10 amendments were written on December 15, 1791 by James Madison and are known as the Bill of Rights.  The Bill of Rights explains that government power is limited and specifically lists the important rights belonging to each individual in the country. 
As part of this year’s celebration of the anniversary of the Bill of Rights, the United States Courts interviewed students from Miami University of Ohio to have them explain why the Bill of Rights is important to them. Click below to view their responses.

More educational resource tools about Bill of Rights Day are found on the United States Courts website.

Friday, November 7, 2014

We the Students Scholarship Essay Contest

High school students interested in a chance to win scholarship money may want to check out a new essay contest from the Bill of Rights Institute.

Patriotic imageWe the Students Scholarship competition seeks to help high school students understand the freedom and opportunity that the Constitution offers. Prizes include $5,000 for the winning essay writer and $500 for his or her teacher.

In 800 words or fewer, students must answer the question: “Since you were born, has America moved closer to or further away from the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence?”

If video is more your style, there’s a video contest, too.

The deadline to submit an essay or video is December 5, 2014.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nothing Lost in Translation

Can you imagine walking into a room full of strangers who start talking in a language that you can’t understand? That happens in courtrooms around Ohio every day for people who are limited in their English proficiency, or are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Ohio Supreme Court is committed to ensuring equal access to justice for all who come before the court. We have put in place services to courts to protect rights of individuals with special language needs, including rules and guidelines for the use of court interpreters.

Court certified language interpreters are dedicated men and women who provide interpretation services in thousands of cases each year. They work hard to ensure that nothing gets lost in translation. They become a key connection between witnesses, defendants, lawyers, judges, and other court personnel.

You can hear interpreters explain the important role they play in our judicial system in this video from Court News Ohio.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Transportation Grants Now Available to Visit Ohio Supreme Court

Are you an educator looking for a fun, hands-on approach to teach students about civic education? Look no further than the Visitor Education Center (VEC) located in the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

Even if you think it is too expensive to travel, or not in your school’s budget this year, you may be surprised. The Ohio Supreme Court’s Civic Education Section is accepting online applications for transportation grants of up to $440 to help schools offset costs to visit the VEC.

Online applications from teachers or administrators will be accepted from October 17 through November 7. The grants will be used for visiting in January through June 2015. The grants, paid for by the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center Foundation, are for schools with students in the fourth through twelfth grades.

All Ohio educators are eligible to apply for a grant, which will be awarded to schools with the highest percentage of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program as reported by the Ohio Department of Education.

For more information, please email the VEC at or call 614.387.9223.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

UT Unveils Women Lawyers History Project

Hooray for my alma mater, the University of Toledo College of Law! The school is teaming up with the Toledo Women’s Bar Association (TWBA) to preserve stories of women lawyers from the Toledo area for the Toledo Women Lawyers History Project.

A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held on October 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the LaValley Law Library at UT.  Daniel Steinbock, the College of Law dean, and TWBA President Lindsay Navarre will discuss the project and unveil 12 portraits of attorneys created by artist and College of Law graduate Paula Mowery.

Julia Bates

Featured paintings of attorneys include Florence Hartman Wells, the first woman to be elected to both branches of the Ohio legislature; Alice Robie Resnick, the second woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court and the founder of the TWBA and Ohio Women’s Bar Association; and College of Law alumna Julia Bates, the first woman elected as Lucas County Prosecutor. 
Hon. Alice Robie Resnick

“The biggest transformation in the legal profession in the past century is the entry of substantial numbers of women at all levels,” Steinbock said. “We are proud to be a part of this commemoration.”
The paintings will be on permanent display on the library’s second floor. Plans for a second phase of the project include a speaker series and an interactive display. Women were first admitted to the practice of law in Ohio in 1878.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

2015 Mock Trial Competition Deadline Ahead

Teachers, this is your chance to be part of the largest high school mock trial program in the nation.  The registration deadline for teams and participants is December 5.

The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education is gearing up for the new school year, which means it’s time for the 2015 Mock Trial Competition. The competition allows students to assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses as they learn about the constitution and their rights as citizens. Many students “catch the spark” in this program and later become lawyers.  For instance, my son, Judge Joshua Lanzinger of the Toledo Municipal Court, is just one example of a former high school participant.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor supports teacher and student participation in the competition. She and Ohio State Bar Association President Martin Mohler talk about this year’s mock trial case.

High School Mock Trial 2015 Competition dates:
·         District Competitions:  Friday, January 30, 2015
·         Regional Competitions:  Friday, February 20, 2015
·         State Competition:  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, March 12 – 14, 2015
For more information about becoming involved with the Ohio High School Mock Trial program, please contact Priya Sonty:, 614-485-3507.

Don’t miss this great opportunity – act by December 5!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teachers: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and iCivics Need You – Hurry

Do your students like video games? Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and the iCivics team are recruiting 30 teachers or up to 1,200 students for a pilot program to test a popular game called Argument Wars. The program will help create assessments to go with the games.

The pilot program will be limited, so apply quickly. The teachers and students need to be in 5-10th grades and have access to computers between September 29 and October 24.
What you get for participating:
·         Access to reports of how your students performed in the game
·         A certificate of participation from iCivics

Your students will also learn about landmark Supreme Court cases.
Interested? Contact Alison Atwater for more information.