Supreme Court Celebrates Law Day with O’Neill High School Community

Supreme Court Celebrates Law Day with O’Neill High School Community

Monday, May 1, 2023

Judges Kale Burdick and Mark Kozisek, 8th Judicial District, spoke to students at O'Neill High School's auditorium on April 27 as part of the Law Day 2023 celebration. The Nebraska Supreme Court held two argument sessions on stage at the high school immediately following the speeches.

During the event, Judge Burdick from O'Neill talked about the appeals process and stressed the importance of courts in American society. Meanwhile, Judge Kozisek from Ainsworth provided students with background information on Law Day, highlighting that May 1 is when the United States officially recognizes Law Day. Kozisek explained the relevance of the celebration to students, noting that "The law affects most aspects of our lives on a daily basis, from the way we conduct ourselves in public, to decisions made about our future. The law is ever-evolving and your participation in that evolution is crucial to maintaining our freedom and rights.”  In concluding his remarks, the judge encouraged students to use the day “to reflect on how the law affects us and what we can do to ensure that it thrives among us.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court justices planned their argument session at the high school at the invitation of Principal Will Wragge. This marked the first time the Nebraska Supreme Court held arguments in O'Neill. Attorneys from Lincoln, Seward, Kearney, and Grand Island were involved in the cases presented. The first case involved second-degree murder and the use of a firearm to commit a felony. The second case involved contract law and the statute of frauds.

The Nebraska Supreme Court emphasized the importance of law-related education outreach by the court, stating that "we believe it is vital to educate young people about the role of the judiciary in our democracy and the importance of the rule of law." According to Court members, by engaging with students in their communities, the court hopes to inspire the next generation of lawyers, judges, and civic leaders who will carry on our democratic traditions.

Former high school teacher and Chief Justice Mike Heavican often discusses the importance of civic education, as it teaches students about their rights and responsibilities as citizens, the structure of the government, and how laws are made and enforced. In a democratic society, court members note that it is crucial for citizens to be informed and engaged in the political process, and civics education provides the foundation for this involvement. By bringing the Supreme Court to schools and engaging with students, the court is helping to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of the legal system, benefiting both the students and our democracy by encouraging participation and promoting the rule of law.