Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on May 1, 2013

Annual contest challenged students to explore the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary

NASHVILLE, May 1, 2013 — Students challenged to produce videos on the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary are being honored today by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) as a part of the national Law Day celebration.

Middle and high school students from across Tennessee were challenged to produce three-minute videos exploring the role of the judiciary, with a focus on issues related to separation of powers and protection of individual rights. The 2013 theme, “The Least Dangerous Branch: The Importance of a Fair & Impartial Judiciary,” centered on Alexander Hamilton’s premise in Federalist Paper No. 78 that judiciary is “the least dangerous” branch of government because it “has no influence over either the sword or the purse.”
Students created videos addressing issues such as why it is important to have a judiciary that is independent of the legislative and executive branches, how this structure strengthens the doctrine of separation of powers and what happens when judges are not impartial.

All winners will receive cash awards. The first place winners in each age division also will be invited to attend the TBA’s Annual Meeting in Nashville on June 14 and have their winning videos shown to leaders of the state’s legal community.

Middle School Winners
Middle school winners are as follows:

First place goes to Alyssa Neuhoff of Signal Mountain. Both Neuhoff and her sponsor, Walden Home School, will receive a cash award of $500 for her video “There is No Liberty without a Fair and Impartial Judiciary.”

Second place goes to Ben Panak of Murfreesboro, who will receive a cash award of $300 for his video “Separation of Powers.”

Third place goes to students from Melody Smith’s class at Algood Middle School in Cookeville. The group will share a cash award of $200 for their video “Wheel of Judges.”

High School Winners
High school winners are as follows:

First place goes to Jeff Carter from Memphis for his video “Hamilton and the Holocaust.” Carter was sponsored by White Station High School. Both he and the school will receive cash awards of $500.

Second place goes to Anna Whittemore of McMinnville, who was sponsored by Girl Scout Troop 2124. She will receive a cash award of $300 for her video “Three-Minute Debate: The Judicial System.”

Third place goes to Benjamin Borck of Lebanon, who was sponsored by Smith County Right to Life. He wins a cash award of $200 for his video “What the Law Is.”

Honorable mentions also were awarded to three other group entries from Algood Middle School in Cookeville, Hillwood High School in Nashville and the senior class of Riverside Christian Academy in Fayetteville.


Video Links
All winning videos are available on the TBA YouTube page while all submitted videos can be viewed here.

Contest History
The YouTube Contest was created in 2010 to generate knowledge and interest in the law and the American judicial system among Tennessee students. It was the primary public service project of then-TBA President Sam Elliott, who made civics education a focus of his year in office. The first contest winners were named in 2011. The 2011 competition focused on Tennessee's unique history of law and liberty. The 2012 competition focused on the constitutional right of freedom of communication.

Law Day History
Law Day is celebrated every May 1 as a special day to mark the nation's commitment to the rule of law. Programs are held across the country to enhance the public's appreciation for the law, to foster a greater understanding of the American judicial system, and to provide an opportunity for attorneys to serve their local communities. Learn more about Law Day