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Memphis Students Have Candid Conversations with Federal Judges

More than 300 students in Memphis, Tennessee, participated in candid conversations about the Constitution with federal judges and attorneys as part of Civics Day.

Sept. 20 marked the third Civics Day, a flagship Federal Bar Association (FBA) event offered to public schools in the city hosting the association’s annual meeting.

“Personal interactions between students and legal professionals can go a long way toward building confidence in the courts,” said Chief Magistrate Judge Tu M. Pham, of the Western District of Tennessee, who helped coordinate the event. “Candid conversations with judges and lawyers establish rapport that breaks down barriers and expose students at an early age to a range of careers in the law.”

More than 40 federal judges and attorneys from across the nation gathered to host programs at local high schools, while local middle school students were treated to a special visit at the federal courthouse in Memphis.  

During the programs, judges and attorneys facilitated candid conversations about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and their impact on the daily lives of students. Students also shared their questions, opinions, and perspectives on current issues. Participants at the courthouse observed a court hearing presided over by Judge Thomas L. Parker, of the Western District of Tennessee.

“This gave them a real-life experience of the Constitution in action,” Parker said. “We had a chance to speak with the students before the hearing to summarize what they were going to see, so they could better understand what was going on, and we answered their questions after the hearing. Their enthusiastic response showed me that witnessing ‘justice in action’ in a courtroom made a big impression on them.”  

To find a civics program at a nearby federal courthouse, contact the federal courts’ national educational outreach manager, Rebecca Fanning. Visit the educational resources section for additional programs and activities.

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