This month’s issue of The Federal Lawyer celebrates immigration law. The FBA is rightfully proud of its long-standing Immigration Law Section, which holds its annual conference this May in Denver. If you practice immigration law, serve as an immigration judge or on the Executive Office of Immigration Review, or are otherwise involved in this important and thriving area of the law, I encourage you to become active in the section.
I applaud the Immigration Law Section for your hard work, successful annual conference, and large section membership. I also thank Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman for your service as section chair, and Immigration Judge Robin Feder for your service on the FBA board of directors. The FBA is grateful to you both, and to all others in the Immigration Law Section.
Court Camps, Civics in the Second Circuit, and Teachers Institutes
In last month’s President’s Message, I discussed the many ways the FBA and federal courts, working together, are increasing knowledge about the Third Branch of government via our national civics initiative known as Civics & Service to Others. I am very proud of the fact that the FBA board of directors has seen fit to create a permanent, standing committee for this effort (the Community Service and Outreach Committee), so that this important work will continue with the same commitment and strength for many years to come—and long after my tenure as FBA president has concluded.
I have thanked them before, but I again mention Rebecca Fanning and Jim Duff, the national outreach manager and director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AO), respectively, whose commitment and vision made this significant effort possible. Thank you, Rebecca and Jim. I also thank our executive director, Stacy King, for her passion and zeal to make all of the FBA’s civics and community outreach efforts succeed throughout the country.
This year, we are promoting civics in a wide variety of ways that tie in with the federal judiciary’s long-standing commitment to educational outreach:
- By encouraging federal judges to meet and interact with middle and high school students, in classrooms and in courtrooms;
By putting materials (graciously loaned to us by the AO) on the civics page of the FBA’s website, so it is easy for federal judges to host programs that students will relate to and that carefully simulate how the federal courts work;
- By asking every FBA chapter to appoint a civics liaison to work with local federal judges and local schools to better facilitate their interaction;
- By continuing our National Community Outreach Project efforts every April, pursuant to which many FBA chapters are devoting that month to one or more civics-related efforts (in addition to their other year-round civics engagement);
- By hosting the FBA’s inaugural Civics Essay Contest—with one set of awards for middle school students, and another set of awards for high school students—that asked the students to address in their essays, “What Does an Impartial Judicial System Mean to Me?”;
- By recognizing and honoring civics teachers across the country for their great work every day; and
- By promoting to all FBA members the many well-established—as well as new and novel—civics efforts and court outreach programs now underway across the country.
Last month, in these pages, I mentioned two new, novel means now being utilized to communicate the importance of civics: Court Camps and Teachers Institutes.
Court Camps provide opportunities for students to learn, in a group setting, about the federal courts and aspects of federal court practice, such as oral advocacy and trial skills; the history of the federal courts; the different roles that judges, prosecutors, and defense counsel play in the criminal process; and how civil cases move from complaint filing through discovery to summary judgment and mediation or trial. Sometimes, Court Camps take all or part of a day. A newer movement—created and spearheaded by Judge Joseph Bianco at the Central Islip Courthouse in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York—is to run a week-long Court Camp with high school students who have expressed an interest in the law.
In 2016, Judge Bianco and the Eastern District of New York Chapter, under the leadership of Dina Miller, launched the first-ever, week-long Court Camp in a U.S. federal court. In Judge Bianco’s summer Court Camp—referred to as the “Justice Institute”—90 middle-school students from 20 different schools on Long Island spent five days at the federal courthouse and at the Touro Law Center across the street from the courthouse. The students learned about oral argument and the workings of the criminal justice system, then participated in a mock trial competition on Friday, the last day of Court Camp.1
This Court Camp proved to be so rewarding for the adults, and so highly reviewed by the students, that it will become an annual event. I salute Judge Bianco and Miller for their leadership in this important arena. Similar efforts are now underway in multiple parts of the country, and the FBA is delighted and honored to be supportive and nurturing of these creative efforts to spread court-related civics information and goodwill.
The Justice Institute is part of “Justice for All: Courts and the Community,” a landmark civics education initiative launched by Second Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert A. Katzman and co-chaired by U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero from the Southern District of New York. Other Second Circuit initiatives include a website (justiceforall.ca2.uscourts.gov), courthouse visits, civics education, student contests, reenactments of historic cases, civic ceremonies, a speakers bureau, and adult education. The FBA takes this opportunity to honor and recognize Chief Judge Katzman and Judge Marrero for their long-standing commitment to civics education and their significant leadership in this most important arena. All of us in the FBA are indebted to them and for the path they have shown, so that other courts around the country may follow.
In addition to the Justice Institute on Long Island this coming July, two other significant court camps, planned for this summer, will be at law schools: at Brigham Young University Law School (BYU) and the University of California, Irvine School of Law. I take this opportunity to congratulate FBA Outside Counsel Rob Clark for his initiative in creating the concept of a high school residential court camp on a university campus and his stellar work in starting the Civics, Law, and Leadership Youth Camp at BYU Law School. Likewise, I salute Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who has championed the U.C. Irvine School of Law program for high school students and who has worked tirelessly for many years, in many capacities, on behalf of the FBA.
Another civics education effort championed and supported by the FBA is the concept of Teachers Institutes.
This year, the FBA is offering volunteers to assist federal courts with their long-standing tradition of conducting Teachers Institutes. Teachers Institutes are an opportunity for educators, judges, and practitioners to “teach to the teachers” (i.e., to teach social studies and civics teachers how the federal courts work); to explain case law and case holdings to teachers (so they, in turn, can educate their students on the law); and to afford teachers an opportunity to meet federal judges and, in some instances, U.S. Supreme Court justices. The Federal Judicial Center (FJC) has also developed, over many years, a national Summer Institute for Teachers that focuses on federal trials and great debates in U.S. history. Federal courts around the country, and the FJC, continue to refresh and develop their Teachers Institutes. Rebecca Fanning, the national outreach manager at the AO, describes the federal courts’ professional development programs for teachers as follows:
Court-sponsored Teachers Institutes have long occupied a unique niche in law-related professional development for high school teachers. They are the only civics training conducted in courthouses with a faculty of judges, lawyers, and other justice system professionals. Teachers Institutes tend to center on timely topics and a contemporary treatment of court fundamentals using court observations and debriefings; case studies that are ready for immediate classroom use; participatory courtroom simulations with judges and volunteer lawyers; and extensive, often informal, interactions with judges and other legal professionals. Teachers leave with classroom-ready content they can use for years. These resources and fully developed programming are posted on http://www.uscourts.gov under the “Educational Resources” tab.
To further develop the content and grow the numbers of these Teachers Institutes, the AO’s Office of Public Affairs established resources and best practices that will be available online to all federal courts. The resources will support, but not be limited to, the following five pillars of court literacy:
- Rule of Law and the Role of the Federal Courts
- Three Branches of Government and the Separation of Powers
- Judicial Independence and the Appellate Process
- Civil Discourse and Jury Service
- Fundamentals: Federalism and the Two-Court System
Here are just a few examples of different models of Teachers Institutes, all of which present opportunities for local FBA chapters to offer assistance:
- Boise, Idaho. The U.S. District Court, the Idaho Supreme Court, and the University of Idaho College of Law collaborated to conduct the 2016 Idaho Teachers Institute. The faculty included 16 federal and state court judges as well as master classroom teachers and journalists. The two-day Institute was a hands-on experience for teachers to discuss and create teaching methods on topics they engaged with during the interactive sessions. Teachers also developed strategies for bringing best practices in civics education to their home school districts with a particular emphasis on the rule of law and the role of courts.
- Fresno, Calif. The 2016 Summer Institute in Fresno focused on the landmark Supreme Court case In re Endo and its ties to California and the Japanese internment. A former internee was part of a three-hour interactive session with the teachers. Each day included a session on the courtroom roles of the solicitor general, the petitioner’s counsel, and the court. The five-day Institute allowed time every day for teachers to share teaching strategies and to develop curriculum around the case. On the last day, teachers presented their strategies and curriculum materials.
- Seattle. The U.S. District Court collaborates every year with the University of Seattle on a three-day Judicial Institute for High School Teachers that qualifies participants for continuing education credits. The faculty of federal judges, attorneys, law enforcement, and other justice system representatives deal with contemporary issues regarding rights and responsibilities. Every other year, the court hosts an annual, three-day iCivics Institute for junior high and middle school teachers.
- St. Louis. The annual Summer Teacher Workshops attracts teachers from around the state for a one-day program that is aligned with state and national social studies standards. Activities include observing and debriefing a hearing and meeting with a federal judge. Lectures and interactive aspects of the program provide models for teaching about judicial independence, differences between state and federal courts, the appellate process, and the Missouri connection in significant Supreme Court cases.
The FBA applauds these Court Camps and Teachers Institutes and reaffirms its commitment, through these and other efforts, to help educate students and teachers about civics, the important role of the federal courts, and the five pillars of court literacy.
National Community Outreach Project and Civics
The FBA’s National Community Outreach Project, operated every April by chapters across the country, has yielded great successes. Each month in these pages, I have highlighted one or more chapters for their excellent community outreach work and civic engagement. This month, we focus on the Phoenix Chapter and the Central District of Illinois Chapter.
The Phoenix Chapter writes:
Our project dealt with the commemoration of the anniversary of the seminal case, Miranda v. Arizona, which arose out of a criminal investigation in Phoenix. The Phoenix Chapter partnered with the U.S. District Court, which sponsored essay and video contests for high school students.
The kickoff event, held in March, was entitled “The Inside Story of the Landmark Case.” For the event, high school students from around Phoenix were transported to the federal courthouse for a lunchtime presentation. The program was hosted by the Phoenix Chapter and emceed by board member and U.S. Magistrate Judge Bridget S. Bade; Ninth Circuit Judge Barry Silverman and Capt. Carroll Cooley from the Phoenix Police Department (retired) were the speakers. The sold-out crowd (162 people) included over 60 high school students and their teachers, as well as federal judges, court staff, and attorneys. Capt. Cooley was the detective who interviewed and arrested Ernesto Miranda. He provided unique insight into the history of the case and exactly how the investigation unfolded, including the “voluntariness” of the interview. Judge Silverman is an expert on the Miranda case and interviewed Miranda numerous times. Given their numerous interactions with Miranda, both speakers provided fascinating, “inside” information on the case. Materials were circulated, including Miranda’s written confession. Everyone in the packed room enjoyed the talk, and the students left inspired to participate in the civics writing contest.
In April, submissions for the writing and video contests were due, and the chapter presented its check in a meeting with the judges of the court. The funds went to hold an event to recognize the teachers and students who participated in the contests. The Court co-sponsored the civics contest with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Circuit contest winners were flown to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in July. The Phoenix Chapter is proud to be partnering with the court on this important project, which will hopefully spark interest and enthusiasm in civics (and local Phoenix history) in our community.
Central District of Illinois2
Chief Judge James Shadid, president of the Central District of Illinois Chapter, writes:
I contacted the teachers of two government classes at two local high schools, one private and one public, Peoria Notre Dame and Peoria High School. Fifteen students from each school participated. In advance, we sent them a fact pattern regarding the search of a cell phone. The facts came from Riley v. California, 573 U.S. ____ (2014). We sent them a few cases to rely on and asked them to choose four to six students from their group, and be prepared to argue either side of the issues. The issues in Riley centered around: the search of the cell phone without a warrant; how digital information on a cell phone differs from other physical objects; what limits does law enforcement face to protect information from being remotely “wiped” or “encrypted”; and what are the exceptions to the applicable rules.
Upon arrival, the students were served breakfast and received a tour of my chambers. We then split them up between the schools. We gave them 15-20 minutes to organize who was going to argue, and what, and then took them to the courtroom. We opened court as we would normally, calling the case, asked the parties to introduce themselves and then proceeded with argument, switching back and forth from the government and the defendant. After arguments, we had discussion of the issues and then opened up discussion to our system and our courts.
A reporter from the Peoria Journal Star newspaper was present, as well as a photographer. I allowed the reporter and photographer to be present in chambers as the students were preparing as well as in court when the students were presenting. Three members of our local chapter were present, along with myself, my two law clerks, and my judicial assistant. All played a significant role in putting this program together. One of the senior status judges in the building, Hon. Michael Mihm, appeared as well.
The students were prepared, engaged, and enthusiastic. I would certainly do this again, and am not sure that I would change anything.
I applaud both the Phoenix Chapter and the Central District of Illinois Chapter for their great and inspiring work in this area.
Richard Dellinger, from Orlando, is one of my favorite people. He has served on the FBA board of directors for many years and always done so with a smile. He’s a smart, talented lawyer with good instincts and a passion for the important work of the FBA. He has the mind of a good judge, and I have always hoped that he will be called to serve the judiciary during his career; we would all be fortunate to have him on the federal bench.
In the past few days, Richard wrote to tell me that, because of work and personal commitments, he will be resigning his board seat and stepping down from FBA leadership. I know this was not an easy decision for Richard, and I accepted his decision after trying to change his mind. We all owe Richard a great deal of thanks and appreciation for a job well done and for his selfless commitment to the FBA. If you have a moment, please email Richard to thank him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of us who volunteer our time to the FBA do so quietly and without fanfare. On the national level, the commitment is long-standing and for many years: after a lawyer rises up the ranks locally to become chapter president, for example, that lawyer will need to run for election and serve as a circuit vice president (CVP) for at least a two-year term before he or she can be considered to run a second election for a seat on the board of directors. (In fact, most CVPs serve for four or six years before running for a board seat.) The same lawyer will then have to serve on the board for three years or more before he or she can be considered to run for treasurer—and participate in yet another national election. It is not uncommon for an FBA leader in national office to have given two decades of volunteer time (or more) to the FBA.
I have done so because I care very deeply about this association and all of the good work we do around the country on a daily basis. We are the primary bar association for all who practice in, or are associated with, the federal courts. Our recent, rather exceptional growth is a testament to the years of hard work we have undertaken with the federal judiciary, and all those on Capitol Hill, who know the FBA does not take political positions or sides—we just work every day to make the federal courts the best they can be (and the best justice system in the world).
I applaud all who serve the FBA, whether your service is on the local or national level, or both. I particularly applaud lawyers like Richard who, while balancing all of the disparate needs of raising a family and running a successful private practice, somehow find the time to serve others, by donating time and energy and talent to the FBA.
Richard, we are honored by your service and your commitment. You are an example to all of us who seek to help others. I know I speak for the entire board and many in the FBA when I tell you we will miss you. We are grateful to you for your service.
I take this opportunity to again thank each of the 19,000-plus members of the FBA for all you do each day to help others. Our membership ranks, both professional and law student, are growing on a daily basis. I am also honored to report that our Civics and Service to Others initiative is proving to be quite successful: we are helping to educate students all over the United States via our civics work, as well as helping those in need via the SOLACE program.
It is my honor to lead the FBA in these important efforts. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
1More information on Judge Bianco’s Court Camp, and an AO-produced video about the Court Camp, can be found at http://www.uscourts.gov/news/2017/01/12/courts-institute-teaches-students-navigate-law-and-life.
2For more information on this federal court program, see http://www.pjstar.com/news/20160412/class-is-now-in-session-high-school-students-try-case-in-federal-courtroom.
Hon. Michael J. Newman is FBA president and the first U.S. magistrate judge to hold this
role. Judge Newman can be reached at Michael_Newman@ohsd.uscourts.gov.