In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed May 1 as Law Day to celebrate the importance of law in our society. Every year, to recognize Law Day in Lincoln, the Lincoln Bar Association organizes lawyers and judges to make presentations to local high schools.
This year, Jon Rehm and I presented to Lincoln North Star High School on the topic of “Equality for All,” more specifically, equal protection under the 14th Amendment. The topic was chosen based on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
In order to understand the importance of equal protection under the 14th Amendment, we discussed the cases of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and had the students act out parts from the oral argument of Briggs v. Elliot (1954), a case that was consolidated with the Brown case.
This gave the students a hands-on approach to understanding the arguments made by the parties and the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting the 14th Amendment.
In all, we had a wonderful time discussing these topics and other current topics within the courts to high school students who may someday become the next generation’s Thurgood Marshall.