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Media Contact for Boston High School Students Celebrate Law Day at Supreme Judicial Court
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — A group of 31 high school students from Boston Latin Academy and Fenway High School today participated in activities at the Supreme Judicial Court as part of Law Day, an event that is celebrated annually across the nation during the month of May.
The theme of this year's Law Day is "Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility and Collaboration," which invites students to collaborate and learn about ways to rebuild trust in institutions, respect for one another, and a willingness to collaborate to address the challenges that face the nation.
The day began in the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, with a theatrical performance by Theatre Espresso called of Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese Internment Camps, which presents the story of Mitsuye Endo, a Japanese-American woman, who was held at the Topaz internment camp during World War II. With the help of an attorney, she challenged the constitutionality of her detention and took her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The performance was interactive, giving the students the opportunity to think through and discuss issues raised by the case.
Following the performance, Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Frank M. Gaziano and Associate Justice Dalila Argaez Wendlandt spoke to the students in the Seven Justice Courtroom. They educated the students about the three branches of government, the criminal justice system, the differences between trial courts and appellate courts, and the role of the Supreme Judicial Court. They also shared their personal experiences working in the legal profession and as judges and answered questions from students about the courts and criminal justice system.
Students then met in small groups with Appeals Court Chief Justice Mark V. Green, Appeals Court Associate Justices Gabrielle R. Wolohojian, Rachel E. Hershfang, and Mary Thomas Sullivan, and attorneys from the SJC Law Clerk Society, who are former law clerks of the Supreme Judicial Court, to discuss the role of courts and the rule of law in a democratic society. The former law clerks led students through a series of exercises that encouraged in-depth discussions on current legal topics designed to illustrate and emphasize the Law Day theme.
The students also had the opportunity to view exhibits in the John Adams Courthouse, including the John Adams Exhibit Room, where they learned about John Adams and his role as the architect of the American system of government. They also viewed the Sacco and Vanzetti exhibit and learned how a miscarriage of justice occurred in that case and the changes to the system that resulted.
President Dwight Eisenhower established the first Law Day in 1958 to mark the nation's commitment to the rule of law. In 1961, Congress issued a joint resolution designating May 1 as the official date for celebrating Law Day. Every president since then has issued a Law Day proclamation on May 1 to celebrate the nation's commitment to the rule of law.