Friday, May 6, 2011

Students win Law Day essay contest

Each year, the Observer's editorial department partners with the Mecklenburg Bar Association to sponsor an essay contest in observance of Law Day. The winners this year were Katie Rivers, from Covenant Day School, who received $300 as the winner, and Arjun Gupta from Providence High in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, who was the runner-up and received $100.

This year's theme was "The Legacy of John Adams, from Boston to Guantanamo." The Boston refers to the second president's defense of British soldiers who fired on residents during the Boston Massacre. Guantanamo, of course, refers to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the military facility where terrorist suspects are being detained and where trials will be held. In the spirit and legacy of Adams, U.S. lawyers, including two in Charlotte, have provided defense.

Both Rivers and Gupta made impassioned arguments for Adams' precedent-setting defense. Rivers took note of the contradictions Adams presented. He is also remembered for signing into law as president the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. The laws were later repudiated as infringing on citizens rights by among other things making it a crime to criticize the government. But she noted that Adams' defense while a lawyer in 1770 of "the redcoats in the Boston Massacre set the standard for American lawyers to eliminate their personal biases in order to give every accused a speedy and public trial."

Gupta concurred: "With his defense of the British soldiers, John Adams gave us a model example of the rule of law: All are judged upon the same standard."

Congratulations to the winners, and to the dozens of other students who sent in great essays. Try again next year.

2 comments:

Nicole said...

Kudos to Arjun! He is a MARVELOUS writer and young man!!! Way to go!!

Derrick said...

Congrats Katie!!!! -Derrick W.