Missouri Bar Holds Essay Contests to Celebrate 2015 Law Day

Winners to attend a major league baseball game

For Law Day, May 1, 2015, The Missouri Bar Citizenship Education Program is sponsoring an essay contest for Missouri school students in grades 6-12. The theme for Law Day 2015 is “Fair and Impartial Courts,” commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Missouri Non-Partisan Court Plan, commonly called the Missouri Plan. All entries are due by April 15, 2015.

The Missouri Plan has served as a national model for the selection of judges and has been adopted in more than 30 states. The merit-based system, adopted by Missouri voters in 1940, helps ensure a fair and impartial justice system by keeping politics and money out of our courts. Click here to learn more about the Missouri Plan.

The role of judges in the courtroom can be compared to the role of umpires or referees at a ballgame. When we play sports, we want the umpire or the referee to come to the game without favoring one side over the other, just like we want the judge to only consider the facts and the rule of law in any cases before the court.

As U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts remarked during his nomination hearings, “Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire.”

For the essay contest, students should explain how the role of judges in the courtroom can be compared to the role of umpires or referees at a ballgame and how the Missouri Plan for the selection of judges promotes this role.

The essay contest will be divided into two groups: Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12. Essays should be no longer than 1,000 words and should be typed and double-spaced. Click here for more information about the rules and scoring criteria.

A total of 12 winners will be selected by the judges for the essay contest. Each winner will receive 2 tickets to attend either a Kansas City Royals or St. Louis Cardinals baseball game with his or her teacher, parent or friend on Law Day, which is May 1, 2015.

To learn more about The Missouri Bar Law Day Essay Contest, visit:

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