By Jeremy Henderson, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 27, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Local youth can peek into an American courtroom during Fort Rucker's Law Day event May 1 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at the Center Library.
The event, hosted by Center Library and orchestrated by the Fort Rucker Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, aims to educate and entertain children and their families with brief American law and U.S. Constitution lessons.
"Anticipated components of the event include a mock trial geared towards children using puppets that will feature characters from a well-known children's story," Capt. Paul Ferguson, Fort Rucker OSJA administrative and claims attorney, said. "There will also be a legal-themed craft and coloring project."
According to Ferguson, the Law Day event is family-friendly, geared primarily towards children and is intended to be an entertaining introduction to basic legal concepts through a mock trial, and craft and coloring activities.
Capt. Daniel Hancock, Fort Rucker OSJA client services chief, added that a sound understanding of the Constitution is essential.
"All Americans should have a thorough grasp of the Constitution because this nation as a republic is dependent upon the participation of its citizens in their own governance," he said. "Without such an understanding, Americans cannot properly evaluate the positions of politicians running for elected office, or the actions taken by the various levels and branches of government, and cannot meaningfully contribute to affecting changes in the law in a proper manner.
"All Americans should also understand the law primarily in order to protect their own liberty," he added. "Additionally, all Americans need to understand the law to make their own individual contributions to a society where the rule of law is respected by following it themselves and by knowing what changes need to be made in the law and the proper manner to advocate for those changes. Knowing this information will aid greatly in Americans' dealings with politicians, law enforcement, and attorneys and paralegals because those who are informed about the matters in which they are involved are best equipped to help professionals aid them in reaching their own goals using the services offered by the appropriate professional."
Cameron Hill, Center Library youth librarian, echoed Hancock's sentiment.
"This is a wonderful, educational event celebrating American law and the U.S. Constitution," she said.
According to the American Bar Association website, Law Day 2017's theme is "The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy."
Hancock stated that Fort Rucker's event is geared toward children and will not explore the amendment in detail; however, its importance should not be understated.
"The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 following the Civil War and implemented many of the key reasons that the Union fought against the Confederacy," he said. "The 14th Amendment made clear that former slaves were now citizens of the United States. It also includes an 'Equal Protection Clause' and a 'Due Process Clause' that are binding upon the states themselves. In other words, each state must treat all citizens as equal before the law and no state could deprive any citizen of life, liberty or property without properly following the state's own laws.
"Before the 14th Amendment, the Constitution only explicitly applied to the federal government in these areas," he added. "A concern about the rights and treatment of the former slaves who were becoming citizens of the nation led to these provisions being included in the 14th Amendment. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the 14th Amendment formed the basis for major supreme court cases involving the racial integration of schools, abortion, same-sex marriage and many other matters."