Bar Association seeks contestants for Law Day



2018 marks the 60th Anniversary of Law Day.  The 2018 Law Day Theme is “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.”  The U.S. Constitution created a system of government with distinct and independent branches – Congress, the Presidency, and a Supreme Court.  It also defines legislative, executive and judicial powers and outlines how they interact.  These three separate branches share power, and each branch serves as a check on the power of the others.  These checks and balances provide a framework for freedom, but this framework is not self-executing.  We the people must continually act to ensure that our constitutional democracy endures, preserving our liberties and advancing our rights. The Law Day theme enables reflection on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working.

The topic to be answered in speech format is:

Within the framework established by the Constitution of the United States, the Legislative branch is responsible for making laws and the Judicial branch determines sentences when a person breaks those laws.  The Executive branch has the power to undo criminal sentences handed down by the Judicial branch under the pardoning power found in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.  Recent examples of this pardoning power include President Obama pardoning Chelsea Manning and President Trump pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 
Does this pardoning power, as it’s applied today, fit within the founders’ framework for separation of powers?

The Muskegon County Bar Association, which partners with Rotary on this process, is hoping to get the word out to teachers across the county about the contest. There are also contests for middle school essays and elementary school art on the same topics.

Teachers are encouraged to involve themselves with the students (while allowing them to do the work themselves) and use the contest as a tool for discussion.

Contest winners give their speeches before a selection of interested adults at a luncheon to be held April 27 this year. There are cash, gift card, and scholarship prizes, varying according to the contest. It is also possible to get coaching help. The deadline for the speech contest is April 15, and the others are right around that time.

Though there are different contacts for different competitions, the president of the Muskegon County Bar Association, Alana Wiaduck, has more information on all of them. If you have questions, contact:

Alana L. Wiaduck

McCroskey Law, 1440 Peck St. Muskegon 49441