Law Day 2014

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     American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters
2011 and 2012 ABA Law Day - Outstanding Activity Award Recipient

Elko Students Tackle Voting Law Before Nevada Supreme Court

Elko Daily Free Press, May 2, 2014

If arguing a complex voters’ rights case seems like a daunting task for a high school junior, it didn’t show in Amelia Lamp’s composed delivery.

Lamp and Elko High classmates Jackson Paris (sophomore) and Sophia Blair (senior) participated in an event Thursday, hosted by the Nevada Supreme Court and broadcast across the state including Elko Justice Court.

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Teens Argue Voting Rights Cases During Law Day Live

MyNews3.com, May 1, 2014

Young aspiring attorneys and judges spent Thursday morning practicing their future craft inside the Nevada Supreme Court.

The statewide project, Law Day Live, focused on the law and voting rights.

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Supreme Court of Nevada Easy Essay Contest – Winners Week Five

Cilla Jose, of Southeast Career Technical Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the fifth week winner of the Supreme Court of Nevada’s Law Day 2014 Easy Essay Contest. Miss Jose has won a $100 cash card for her winning entry. The essay was chosen by judges ahead of 78 other entries as the best in Week Five of the contest.

In addition, Tyler Paraiso, of Southwest Career Technical Academy in Las Vegas,  and Shayenne Camacho, of Centennial High School in Las Vegas, will be awarded, respectively, $50 and $25 cash cards, for winning second and third place in the writing contest.

The Easy Essay Contest – involving essays of 100 words or less – concluded April 25, 2014 and these are the final week winners. During the five weeks of the contest, three weekly winners received $100, $50, and $25 cash cards courtesy of Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry in cooperation with the State Bar of Nevada.

Each Monday a new essay question was posted on the Supreme Court’s Law Day webpage with the winning essays  posted each week to showcase the talents of Nevada’s students.

Week Five Question:

Elections can be about more than individual races and individual candidates.  While most laws are made by the Legislature, voters can create law or changes to the Nevada Constitution through ballot questions and the initiative process.  Are ballot questions and initiatives a good way to make laws?  Why?

Here is Cilla Jose’s winning essay:

Cilla Jose, Southeast Career Technical Academy
$100 Cash Card

Ballot questions and initiatives were designed 110 years ago for one purpose; direct democracy for the people. In the past twenty-five years, these measures have provoked increased voter turnout rates in the states they have been implemented. As well as attracting more of the general public to the polls, ballot questions and initiatives have sanctioned citizens to speak on matters that they are passionate about, engrossing  them in supplementary legal progressions. Rather than solely voting for a politician and hoping that the individual will deliver on his preliminary promises, civilians are given the power to have their voices be heard.

Second Place:

Tyler Paraiso, Southwest Career Technical Academy
$50 Cash Card

Initiative, referendum, and recall reinvigorated interest in politics during the Progressive Era of the US. The main purpose of this process is to eradicate corruption in the federal government by allowing the populace to have a voice regarding legislation passed in their state. Prior to the ratification of the initiative, referendum, and recall process, corporations held a remarkable foothold over the government because of their trusts. Ballot questions are an integral portion of US politics because it is more inclusive of the state population’s opinion over a piece of legislation rather than the select few.

Third Place:

Shayenne Camacho, Centennial High School
$25 Cash Card

Every single person in the United States have a right to be heard. Not only do the legislatives make the laws but so do the people in our own country.  Over time many people were granted the opportunity to be heard. So they bring their ideas to make a law that can improve or keep away from endangering their surroundings. Ballots and initiatives are a good idea to pass laws. This way the people can have a say in the new incoming law. Citizens are the people obeying them, so why shouldn’t they be able to make a law that is reasonable.

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Join Us for Law Day Live, May 1, 2014

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Law Day Live Connects 6 High Schools in Supreme Court Arguments Over Voting Rights

Law Day Live 2014 will provide students from six Nevada high schools the opportunity to present oral arguments before the Supreme Court of Nevada from 9 am to 11:30 am on May 1, 2014 at courtrooms connected via video conferencing in Carson City, Elko, Las Vegas, and Winnemucca.

The event will center around three historic voting rights cases: Minor v. Happersett; Oregon v. Mitchell, and Shelby County v. Holder. Each student team, representing an appellant and a respondent, will have 15 minutes to orally argue its case before the court. In a rare opportunity to see how cases are decided, the judges will deliberate immediately following each oral argument. It is anticipated that each case will be argued and decided within 45 minutes.

Students will appear at the Supreme Court in Carson City, the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Lowry High School in Winnemucca, and the Elko Justice Court. Media are invited to participate in any of the four locations.

The event, a part of nationwide Law Day events, will be broadcast on the Internet and within the Clark County School District on Las Vegas PBS.

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Student Judges Receive Briefing Papers

Student Judges at Canyon Springs High School, Lowry High School, and Virginia City High School have received briefs for the cases they will judge during Law Day Live on May 1, 2014 at the Supreme Court of Nevada.

Six teams from Nevada high schools will argue cases affecting voting rights in relation with the national Law Day 2014 theme of “American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters.”

The three cases include: Minor v. Happersett; Oregon v. Mitchell, and Shelby County v. Holder.  The legal briefs and background for each case are posted at http://lawday.nevadajudiciary.us/?page_id=929.  All three cases demonstrate how the judiciary interprets laws and builds case law for subsequent cases that eventually will be brought to the court for judicial review.

Each student team, representing an appellant and a respondent, will have 15 minutes to orally argue its case before the court.  Each appellant and respondent may be interrupted by the court during the oral arguments as the judges seek clarification or additional information about a point of law.  In a rare opportunity to see how cases are decided, the judges will deliberate immediately following each oral argument.  It is anticipated that each case will be argued and decided within 45 minutes.

Law Day Live 2014 provides a rare opportunity for students to appear in the well of the Supreme Court of Nevada and argue cases of interest to the court. We welcome individuals to participate with us during this live event by commenting on Twitter using the hashtag “#lawdaylive” and by commenting on our Facebook page titled Law Day Live.

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Supreme Court of Nevada Easy Essay Contest – Winners Week Four

Joshua Creel, of Pahrump Valley High School in Pahrump, Nevada, is the fourth week winner of the Supreme Court of Nevada’s Law Day 2014 Easy Essay Contest. Mr. Creel has won a $100 cash card for his winning entry. The essay was chosen by judges ahead of 204 other entries as the best in Week Four of the contest.

In addition, Shelby DeRose and Ioana Ganeva, of Centennial High School in Las Vegas, will be awarded, respectively, $50 and $25 cash cards, for winning second and third place in the writing contest.

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The Right To Vote in America

One of our most cherished national ideals, expressed eloquently by Abraham Lincoln, is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is a principle enshrined in our Nation’s founding documents, from the Declaration of Independence’s assurance that governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, to the opening three words of the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, “We the People.”

The right to vote is the very foundation of government by the people. For this reason, striving to establish and protect every citizen’s right to vote has been a central theme of American legal and civic history. Much of the struggle on voting rights began decades ago, but the work is far from complete, and a citizen’s right to cast a ballot remains at risk today.

As we approach the 50th anniversaries of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 2014 Law Day theme, American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters, calls on every American to reflect on the importance of a citizen’s right to vote and the challenges we still face in ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to participate in our democracy.

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Voting: Should It Be Compulsory?

Almost all democratic governments consider voting in elections essential to a healthy democracy. Many democratic countries, including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Greece, Luxembourg, Peru, and Singapore feel so strongly about the importance of voting that they have made it compulsory.

In compulsory voting systems, citizens are required to vote or check in at a polling place on election day. Sanctions for not voting or checking in at a polling place range from fines to barriers in obtaining certain goods and services. While many of these countries can report high voter turnout rates, questions remain as to whether or not these numbers reflect a more informed and civically engaged electorate.

During the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election, an estimated 58 percent of the eligible voting population went to the polls. This means that roughly 93 million eligible citizens did not vote. The low voter turnout in U.S. elections continues to fuel the discussion of whether mandatory voting laws would have an effect on our electoral democracy.

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Easy Essay Contest Question: Week Five

Nevada middle or high school students have the opportunity to win cash prizes by participating in the 2014 Easy Essay Contest.

Week Five Question:

Elections can be about more than individual races and individual candidates.  While most laws are made by the Legislature, voters can create law or changes to the Nevada Constitution through ballot questions and the initiative process.  Are ballot questions and initiatives a good way to make laws?  Why?

Essays are limited to 100 words. Entries must be received by 5 pm Friday (April 25).

Submit an entry to the Nevada Supreme Court using the form found here.

ELIGIBILITY

You must be a middle or high school student in Nevada. You must list your age, school, and class level (age and class level will be taken into consideration in the judging). If you are under age 13, you must participate with the permission of your teacher or parent.

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