- Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- Massachusetts Court System
Media Contact for Law Day Celebrated in Courthouses Across the State
Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago
BOSTON, MA — A group of more than 50 Boston high school students from New Mission High School and Another Course to College today participated in Law Day activities at the Supreme Judicial Court, one of several Law Day events happening in the Commonwealth from the end of April through early May.
The theme of this year's Law Day was Separation of Powers and the balance of power within our government. This theme enabled students to take a look at checks and balances within government, as well as their own roles in government as citizens.
At the John Adams Courthouse, the day began with a theatrical performance by Theatre Espresso called Justice at War about a case that was heard before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of detaining Japanese Americans in United States internment camps during World War II.
Following the performance, Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Kimberly S. Budd and Appeals Court Chief Justice Mark V. Green spoke to the students in the Seven Justice Courtroom. They educated the students about the structure of the court system, the differences between trial courts and appellate courts, and the role of the Supreme Judicial Court in the state judiciary. 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 attorneys from the SJC Law Clerk Society, who are former law clerks of the 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 hands-on 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.
Law Day was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958 as a day to recognize the principles of government under the law, and the nation’s rich heritage of liberty and justice. Celebrations commemorating Law Day take place every May in courthouses throughout Massachusetts and the United States.
Law Day events have taken place at Plymouth District Court; Barnstable District Court; Brockton District Court; Springfield District Court; Lawrence District Court; Bristol County Juvenile Court in New Bedford; Quincy District Court; Lynn Juvenile Court; Boston Municipal Court - East Boston; Boston Municipal Court - Brighton; and Middlesex County Juvenile Court at the Lowell District Court. Fall River District Court is scheduled to celebrate Law Day on Friday, May 25.