The Missouri Bar’s Show Me the Constitution competition offers high school students across the state the opportunity to gain firsthand experience with civic discourse and today’s complex constitutional questions.
During the competition, teams of students take on the role of experts testifying about constitutional issues before a congressional committee, composed of three judges. The format brings constitutional principles to life while developing critical thinking and civil debate skills.
The 2024 Show Me the Constitution Competition will be held April 8, 2024, in Columbia.
Students will be asked to explore and prepare remarks on the following questions:
- Over 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court created a standard about when speech that encourages illegal action isn’t protected by the First Amendment. The rule created in a case called Brandenburg v. Ohio, has two main parts: First, is the speech meant to immediately encourage illegal actions? And second, is it likely that these actions will actually happen?
- Did the Supreme Court make the correct decision in this case?
- Should the Court have continued using older standards like the “clear and present danger” test or the “bad tendency test”? Why or why not?
- Examining events of the past 10 years, do you feel the Brandenburg standard is the best one for our country? Explain your position.
- Throughout numerous decades, affirmative action was intricately woven into and was a highly contentious facet of the college admission process. In the companion cases Students for Fair Admission v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admission v. University of North Carolina the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overruled Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. According to the majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions in the Students for Fair Admission cases, what are the major arguments for and against affirmative action programs?
- What impact, if any, will the Supreme Court’s ruling have on recruiting a diverse student body?
- How should Colleges and Universities create an “equality of opportunity” policy for all students seeking admission?
- The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly mention the power of judicial review or stare decisis, yet it has exercised this power without congressional oversight since Chief Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison stated, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” Is the principle of judicial review consistent with Article III as envisioned by the Framers? Why or why not?
- Explain the fundamental concept of stare decisis on the American legal system and its importance on maintaining stability within the law. What evidence can you offer in support of your opinion?
- Under what circumstances, if any, should a precedent be overturned? Support your position.
- The event is open to all public, private, and parochial high schools in Missouri.
- Each school is allowed up to three teams.
- Teams will be comprised of 3-5 students. Individual students may participate on more than one team.
- Participants may be drawn from a teacher’s regular classes, a combination of classes, a school club or any group of students wishing to form their own team. However, all teams must be sponsored and accompanied by a school approved teacher or a sponsor.
- At the competition, each team will have five minutes to read their prepared statement, responding to each provision of the questions provided for the competition. At the end of the five-minute presentation, judges will have 10 minutes to ask follow-up questions. During the follow-ups, students must turn their printed pages over or close their electronic copies. At the end of the follow-ups, judges will provide feedback to the students.
- Cash prizes will be awarded to top schools.
- 1 place – $1,000
- 2nd place- $750
- 3rd place – $500
An authentic assessment
By simulating congressional hearings, Show Me the Constitution aligns with several of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s standards for high school government and social studies curriculums.
The format requires students to apply constitutional principles to current issues, developing critical thinking skills beyond rote memorization.
Register your school by March 1
Give your students the opportunity to engage in a passionate constitutional debate this spring! Contact Dr. Tony Simones at email@example.com or 573-638-2250 or Sara Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-638-2252 with any questions or to sign up.