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The Missouri Bar Constitution Day Program

A Joint Project of the Missouri Bar and HEC-TV Live

September 17, 2009



The Missouri Bar and HEC-TV are proud to host The Missouri Bar Constitution Day Program 2009.  The 2009 program will consists of two different live events.  The 10:00 a.m. broadcast will focus on the issue of citizenship and the 1:00 p.m. broadcast will focus on juvenile justice.  Constitution Day participants will have the opportunity to hear some of these students’ views, to listen to a panel of experts comment on these views, and to submit their own questions and comments to the panel.

Watch panel video (1): Who is an American Citizen?

Watch panel video (2): Juvenile Justice

Objectives of the Constitution Day Program

  1. To introduce and explore with students the concept of American citizenship.
  2. To introduce and explore due process in the juvenile justice system.
  3. To demonstrate the relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights in students’ everyday lives.

Purpose of the study guide

This study guide is intended as resource for classroom teachers to prepare students for the Constitution Day broadcasts and to provide follow-up reflection questions.  The study guide has background materials, classroom activities, enrichment suggestions and links to outstanding Internet sites.

The making of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

We recommend several excellent websites for exploring the philosophical and historical foundations and for learning about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and for lots of fun information about the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the constitutional ratification process:

WARNING:  Visiting these sites may cause the visitor to lose all track of time!  They are loaded with interesting information and engaging activities.

Who’s An American Citizen?

10:00 Constitution Day Program

The original Constitution did not define citizenship, but there are some references.  Citizenship requirements are mentioned in the qualifications for representatives (Article I, Section 2.2), senators (Article 1, Section 3.3), and the president (Article II, Section 1.5).  The framers also gave Congress the power to establish naturalization requirements (Article I, Section 8.4), but basically left the matter of citizenship qualifications up to the states.  However, in 1790, Congress passed the first of the Naturalization Acts, which basically declared all free white males to be citizens.   Since that time, citizenship barriers based on race, ethnicity and gender have been declared unconstitutional.

To prepare students for the Constitution Day discussion on citizenship, there are several aspects a teacher may want to consider:

  1. For a short but very inclusive history of naturalization laws and history, go to http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu .
  1. The turning point in American history for defining citizenship came with the Dred Scott decision in 1857 and the subsequent passage of the 14th Amendment, which defined citizenship in the United States.  For a simple discussion of the Dred Scott case, please go to www.mobar.org , to the Educators section and then to Constitution Day 2009.
  1. The 14th Amendment states:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.  Discuss with students how the 14th Amendment describes citizenship.
  1. All persons born…in the United States is not an entirely simple concept.  Jus soli (law of the soil) provides that anyone born in the United States is a U.S. Citizen.  Jus sanguine (law of the blood) refers to how a person is a United States citizen even if he/she is born outside of the United:
  • A child is also a citizen if he or she was born abroad and both parents are United States citizens at least one of whom resided at some time in the United States or a United States possession.
  • If only one parent is a US citizen, that parent must have been physically present in the US or possession at least five years prior to the child’s birth, at least two of which were after the age of 14.
  1. One of the controversies related to the jus soli theory of citizenship is the anchor baby dilemma. This term is applied to children born in the United States to illegal immigrants and leads to some very difficult questions. Explore this controversy with the students:  Should illegal immigrants be allowed to stay in the United States because they are the parents of an American citizen?  On the other hand, should an American citizen be deported because the parents are not legally in the country?  Or should the child be allowed to remain in the United States while the parents are deported?
  1. Examine how the 14th Amendment provides protection of the laws to anyone here in the United States, including illegal aliens.  In Wong Wing v. United States (1896), the court declared that illegal aliens enjoy all of the protections afforded a person accused of a crime pursuant to the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments.  In Plyler v. Doe (1982), the court declared a Texas statute unconstitutional that prevented the children of illegal aliens from attending public schools.  Discuss how these two cases relate to the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th Amendment.  The majority opinions in both cases provide an excellent insight to the meaning of the 14th Amendment.  These cases may be found at http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html.
  1. The Supreme Court of the United State declared it cruel and unusual punishment to strip a person of his/her citizenship as a punishment for military desertion.  See Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958).   Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote the opinion and what he has to say about the importance of citizenship would be excellent Constitution Day reading.  The case may be found at http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html.
  1. Discuss requirements for becoming a naturalized citizen:
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have been lawfully admitted to the United States.
  • Have resided as a permanent resident in the United States for at least 5 years or 3 years if you meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • Have demonstrated continuous permanent residence
  • Have demonstrated physical presence
  • Demonstrate good moral character
  • Show an attachment to the U.S. Constitution
  • Be able to read, write, speak, and understand basic English
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. civics (history and government)
  • Take the oath of allegiance to the United States

Do all of these seem reasonable?  Why or why not?


Possible issues to raise with the panelists:

  • Why do many consider the 14th Amendment more important than any of the amendments in the Bill of Rights?
  • Why is the use of the word persons in the 14th Amendment particularly significant?
  • Why did it take so long for people of color and women to obtain the full rights and privileges of citizenship?
  • What groups in our country today are relying on the 14th Amendment to make sure their rights are protected?
  • What is dual citizenship?  Do you think it is a good idea to allow Americans to be both an American citizen and a citizen in another country?  Why or why not?
  • What is an anchor baby?  How should the government deal with this situation?
  • Why did it take legislation to establish the citizenship of Native Americans?
  • What does 14th Amendment have to do with the detainees at Guantanamo Bay?


Follow up enrichment activities:

  1. If you had been a Framer, one of the men who wrote the Constitution, would you have put provisions in the Constitution that would have prevented the outcome of the Dred Scott case?  Why or why not?  What would those provisions had been?
  1. Explore some of the court cases that have relied on the 14th Amendment to gain full citizenship rights regarding educational opportunities:  Missouri ex. rel. Gaines v. Canada, Sweatt v. Painter, McClaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, Brown v. Board of Education, Plyler v. Doe.  These cases may be found at www.findlaw.com or at http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html.
  1. Explore the rights of citizenship in regard to the Japanese internment during World War II by reading the majority and dissenting opinions in Korematsu v. United States, (1944).  Note:  The U.S. Government officially apologized for the internment in the 1980s and paid reparations totaling $1.2 billion, as well as an additional $400 million in benefits signed into law by George H. W. Bush in 1992.  For an outstanding lesson plan on this case, go to www.landmarkcases.org.
  1. The question of the rights of citizens arose during the Civil War as the right of habeas corpus.  Explore the cases of Ex parte Milligan (1866) and Ex parte Merryman (1861).  Similar issues have arisen in regards to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  Have students read the case of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004) for a 21st century discussion on this matter.
  1. Attend a naturalization ceremony at a federal courthouse.  This is an unforgettable experience.


Juvenile Justice and the Constitution

1:00 Constitution Day Program

Missouri’s juvenile justice system has received national praise for its efforts to keep Missouri’s young people out of the criminal justice system by providing alternatives to incarceration to juvenile offenders.  Missouri was one of the first states to establish a juvenile justice system that addressed not only juvenile delinquency problems but also the problems of neglected and abused minors.

To prepare students for the Constitution Day discussion on juvenile justice, there are several aspects a teacher may want to consider:

  1. Have students learn some general ideas about juvenile justice in Missouri with a lesson plan provided at www.mobar.org, the Educators section and then to Constitution Day 2009.
  1. Consider two landmark cases in juvenile justice.  The first is In re Gault (1967) where the court held that a juvenile being adjudicated of a crime has the same due process rights as an adult criminal.  The second is Roper v. Simmons where the court held that a death sentence for a juvenile violated the 8th Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.  Both cases may be found at www.findlaw.com or at http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html.
  1. In the landmark case of Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), the Supreme Court made it clear that students in public schools do not leave their “constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door.”  However, since that time, the court has handed down a series of opinions that demonstrate schoolshave a little more constitutional latitude when dealing with various issues.  Take a look at these cases and then discuss two issues:  1) Why do you think the court gives schools this latitude?  2) How are these cases different from situations where a juvenile is in court for committing a crime?
  • New Jersey v. T.L.O (1985)—Under the 4th Amendment, for a search to be reasonable, the government official doing the search must have probable cause to believe that a law has been broken. In this case, the Court held that, in a school, the probable cause need only be a belief that a school rule may have been violated.  For an excellent lesson plan, go to www.landmarkcases.org .
  • Vernonia v.Acton (1995)—The school district’s concerns about drug usage among its student athletes was sufficient probable cause for mandatory random drug testing to be considered a reasonable search.  The Court was careful to point out that the school district had identified a significant drug problem among the athletes and that the results of the mandatory drug testing would not be turned over to law enforcement officials.
  • The Court expanded its holding in Vernonia seven years later in the case of Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie City v. Earls (2002). In this case, the school district policy for mandatory drug testing included everyone in extracurricular activities.  (The students who challenged the policy were in band and on the academic team.)  Unlike the Vernonia school district, the Pottawatomie School District had not articulated that there was a drug problem in the school.  Nevertheless, the Court held that the school’s drug testing policy did not violate the 4th Amendment, once again citing the school’s need to address its general concerns about teen drug usage and once again pointing out that the drug test results would not be shared with law enforcement officials.  For an excellent lesson plan on this case, go to http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/Newsletters/lscc/2007-2008/pottawatomievearls.pdf .
  • Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)—School officials have the authority to edit a school newspaper.  For an excellent lesson plan, go to www.landmarkcases.org .

Possible issues to raise with the panelists:

  1. What is the basic philosophy of Missouri’s juvenile justice system? How is this different than some other states?
  1. Do you think there are situations where juveniles should be considered as adults for the purpose of prosecuting them for a crime?
  1. How does the court decide if a juvenile should be certified as an adult to stand trial for a crime?
  1. What is meant by due process, especially if a juvenile is arrested for a crime?
  1. Why do you think the Supreme Court has allowed schools a little more latitude when it comes to various constitutional protections?


Possible enrichment:

  • Invite a judge from the juvenile court to talk to students about juvenile justice.
  • Do certification simulations where the students play the parts of judges and lawyers.  For this exercise, go to www.mobar.org, the Educators section, then to Constitution Day 2009 and the handout is entitled When Juveniles Are Treated as Adults.
  • Explore why a juvenile becomes an adult at various ages i.e. there is no juvenile traffic court.  Should 18 be the age for everything—driving, alcohol consumption, etc.?


Grade Level Expectations

The Missouri Bar Constitution Day provides the content and teaching methodology, based upon inquiry instruction necessary to meet the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Show Me Standards, Course Level, and Grade Level Expectations (GLE) that complement the standards for several areas of social studies.  Note:  Only the goals, CLEs, and GLEs that are relevant to Constitution Day activities are included in this document.  These standards are both from the Government and U.S. History standards. Note: Lettered outcome objectives are not sequential because they reference DESE documents.

Grades 7-8

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

1.  Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.

A. (1) Principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the               United States.


Principles and Process of Governance Systems

3.  Knowledge of principles and processes of governance systems

C. (2) Processes of governmental systems.

G. (2) Effects of laws and events on relationships.

I. (3) Changing ideas, concepts and traditions.

Grades 9-12

Principles of Constitutional Democracy

2.  Knowledge of the principles expressed in documents shaping constitutional democracy in the United States.

A (1)

  • Principles of Constitutional Democracy in the United States.
  • Assess the changing roles of government.
  • Understanding the relevance and connections of constitutional principles.

B (3) Roles of citizens and governments in carrying out constitutional principles.


Principles and processes of governance systems

3.  Knowledge of principles and processes of governance systems

  1. (1) Principles and purposes of government.
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