Federal bench and Bar sponsoring essay contest
The judges and attorneys of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, in cooperation with the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, are spomsoring the 2019 High School Essay Contest.
In its second year, the contest is open to students in grades 10 through 12 in counties in the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union.
This year, students entering the contest are asked to reflect on the concepts of balance of powers and checks and balances.
The contest requires students to respond to the following prompt:
The Founding Fathers created a divided government by separating important powers among each of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
To prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful, the framers of the Constitution established a system of checks and balances. Some argue, however, the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances undermine the government’s ability to swiftly and decisively respond to problems facing the nation.
Identify a historical or current event that exemplifies the concepts of separation of powers and checks and balances. Drawing on primary sources, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a divided government.
Essays must be submitted no later than noon Monday, Oct. 7.
The essays will be judged by Jacksonville lawyers who will present the top 10 essays to the judges of the Jacksonville Division for selection of the winners.
Prizes are made possible by the lawyers and judges of the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida through the Middle District Bench Bar Fund.
The first place prize is $2,000; second place, $1,000; third place, $500; and fourth through 10th place, $50.
This year, a $500 classroom grant will be awarded to the teachers of the top three winners.
Winners and their teachers will be recognized at a ceremony at the Bryan Simpson U.S. Courthouse on Nov. 20. The top three winners also will be recognized in December at the Spirit of Giving Luncheon, an annual event of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
Additionally, the first place winner will be given the opportunity to shadow a federal judge for a day.
For details about the contest and how to enter, visit flmd.uscourts.gov.