PROJECT • Teaching about the Courts

EXCERPT FROM ICMPA WEBSITE PROJECT — SEE FULL PROJECT WEBSITE HERE


The Federal Courts: A Civic Education • Nurturing Understanding & Good Citizenship


federal-judges-home-pageICMPA created a website for the Federal Judges Association, the Federal Magistrate Judges Association, and the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.



  • Understanding the Third Branch of the U.S. government:
    The Federal Courts website-based set of resources is intended to assist judges, members of the federal court system, educators and others in their outreach to students and teachers, in both classroom and courtroom presentations.
  • Civics education is essential to improve the public’s understanding of the role and functions of the federal judiciary.  Without broad public understanding of and respect for the fundamental principle of an independent judiciary embodied in the United States Constitution, the rule of law is endangered.

The Federal Courts website focuses on the U.S. federal courts and the national issues these courts address. It includes links to selected materials for use by judges and other presenters in educating the public, especially students at all levels, about the judiciary’s crucial role as a coequal third branch of government dedicated to the fair and impartial administration of the law.
The materials illuminate the critical role of the judiciary in safeguarding American freedoms, and the corresponding importance of judicial independence  the courts’ ability to decide disputes impartially, without fear of direct or indirect social, economic or political reprisal.
The website-based set of resources is intended to assist judges, members of the federal court system, educators and others in their outreach to students and teachers, in both classroom and courtroom presentations.

The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court

Focus on Critical Topics:  This web-based set of resources features the following topics:

  1. The United States Constitution in general, with an emphasis on separation of powers and the concept of federalism.
  2. Judicial Independence, including the role that fair and impartial courts  play in preserving rights and protecting liberties.
  3. The Structure of the Federal Courts, including the roles of trial, appellate and special purpose courts.
  4. The Bill of Rights in general, with special emphasis on the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Equal Protection clause and Due Process.
  5. First Amendment Rights & Intellectual Property Law, with special emphasis on freedom of the press and free speech issues & intellectual property, copyright and patent law.
  6. Fourth, Fifth & Sixth Amendment Rights  — “Street Law” in other words — including juvenile justice issues, individuals’ rights in law enforcement encounters and the sequence of events following arrest, if an individual is brought to court.
  7. Civil & Criminal Litigation basics, including the events and roles of parties in criminal cases and civil cases and the role of judge and jury.
  8. Bankruptcy Proceedings and their basic legal principles.

The website that ICMPA created is featured on the U.S. government’s official website for the U.S. Judiciary Branch   — uscourts.gov — as well as the website for the Federal Judges Association, and other legal sites.

The FULL WEBSITE IS AVAILABLE HERE.  

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