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BOSTON, MA — A group of approximately 100 high school students from Fenway High School, New Mission High School, and Boston Latin School 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. This year's theme is the Fourteenth Amendment and how it reshaped American law and society, particularly its impact on civil rights, due process, and equal protection under the law for all Americans.
At the John Adams Courthouse, the day began with a theatrical performance by Theatre Espresso called The Nine Who Dared that examines the ethical and philosophical questions raised by the implementation of the United States Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education.
Following the performance, Supreme Judicial Court Justices Geraldine S. Hines, Frank M. Gaziano, and Kimberly S. Budd, 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 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. Forthcoming Law Day events are scheduled in May at Springfield District Court; Salem District Court; Quincy District Court; Lawrence District Court; Fall River District Court; Bristol County Juvenile Court-Taunton; Boston Municipal Court in East Boston; and Boston Municipal Court in Brighton.