The Constitutional Scholars Program’s Seventh Annual Constitution Contest is now accepting entries. The contest is open to all students in grades nine through twelve in the 32 counties that constitute the Northern District of New York.
As in prior years, entries must regard the origin of some aspect of the U.S. Constitution. This year, there are six available topics: (1) how the framers of the Constitution tried to make federal court judges independent (e.g., from the influence of the other branches of government, as well as from popular opinion), and why; (2) who the two chambers of our bicameral legislature were originally intended to represent (i.e., before 1913), what function this was intended to serve in a system of checks and balances, how and why this was changed in 1913, and why each state’s number of senators was fixed rather than tied to the state’s population; (3) who argued against the ratification of the Bill of Rights (i.e., the first 10 amendments to the Constitution), who argued for its ratification, and what their arguments were; (4) what each of the seven articles of the Constitution is about, what each article’s role is in relation to the others, and how strong the judicial branch was intended to be in relation to the other two branches, and why; (5) what the 27 amendments to the Constitution are, and what the rights protected by each amendment are; and (6) a recitation and discussion of James Madison’s famous “If men were angels” passage from Federalist Paper No. 51 dated February 8, 1788.
Entries must be submitted in one of two categories: video performances and posters. Video performances (e,g., a recitation, argument, skit or song, etc.) must be fewer than 10 minutes in duration and uploaded to JotForm, TikTok or Instagram Reels. Posters may be of any size and media, including digital images, as long as the content is suitable for reproduction as a two-dimensional poster.
Submissions are due by midnight on Sunday May 1, 2022 (“Law Day”). All entries (which must be redacted to keep the entrant’s identity anonymous) will be evaluated by a panel of 3 to 6 federal judges. Prize winners will be announced on Saturday, September 17, 2022 (“Constitution Day”). Up to $4,500 in prize money will be awarded for entrants winning first place, second place, third place and honorable mention in each of the two categories.
Notices of the contest have been emailed to the administrators of each high school in the NDNY. But, because some students may not be notified of the contest by busy teachers, members of the FCBA who know of students who might be interested are encouraged to inform them of the contest. More details about the contest may be found at constitutionalscholars.org.