Students from nine high schools in the tri-county area attended the James Otis Lecture at the Santa Barbara Courthouse on Constitution Day, September 17, 2011. The program was sponsored by California Coast Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States of America. After lectures by retired California Supreme Court Justice, Carlos R. Moreno, and UCLA law professor, Cheryl Harris, the students were invited to participate in an essay contest on the topic, “Cyberbullying and the First Amendment”. The essays were reviewed and evaluated by a team of high school teachers and ABOTA lawyers, who have recently selected the top three essays.
Scholarship awards totaling $5,000 have been awarded by ABOTA to the three essay finalists, Karina Jougla of Carpinteria High School, Sanjay Siddhanti of Newbury Park High School and Rebekah Solomon of Thousand Oaks High School.
The James Otis Lectures, with essay contests, are presented by ABOTA on Constitution Day at various locations throughout the country. The purpose is to stimulate interest in United States constitutional history and the importance of the rule of law in democratic society. The program derives its name from James Otis, Jr., a young colonial lawyer who argued that the British writs of assistance violated the natural rights of colonists protected by the unwritten English constitution, which neither the king nor parliament had the authority to ignore. There were approximately 150 local high school students who attended the James Otis Lecture, which was the first to be presented on the California coast. The program will be presented each year as part of Constitution Day celebration.
For further details, contact ABOTA California Coast Chapter President, Brad Ginder at (805) 963-6711.