– April 2023 Newsletter –
Spring-ing into Constitutional Education
Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. We have many exciting updates from committees to share with our community during this season, along with looking forward to upcoming events.
A Message From Our President
Dear Friends –
Over 200 years ago, our nation’s founders drafted a masterpiece—the United States Constitution. The Constitution created three separate but equal branches of government that united the individual states and vested the power of the union to the people. The document is often referred to as a “living” document, as it can be amended, and has been 27 times. Why am I going on and on about this nation’s governing document? Because we have several upcoming events that highlight the importance of it:
Law Day (May 1, 2023) – Law Day is celebrated on May 1, 2023 to recognize the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. How do we celebrate? By educating our citizenry. Specifically, our judges and attorneys head to our local classrooms to present civics education where we explain how our government works and the role of law. Clickthe button below for the star-studded civics promo video.
Don’t miss your chance to partake in this opportunity! Reach out to Danielle Atchison or Athena Dickson if you are interested in participating in Law Day: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For more information about our civics programming, please visit our website where you’ll find loads of civics materials: www.fedbarkanmo.org.
Civil Rights CLE (June 20, 2023) – Back by popular demand, we are again partnering with the First Amendment Foundation to put on a CLE that tackles the front-page-news’ Constitutional issues of today. Last year’s CLE tackled book bans with Deborah Caldwell-Stone from the American Library Association who appeared earlier that morning on Steve Kraske’s syndicated “Up To Date” show along with an attorney from the Missouri ACLU, who is currently litigating various book bans. Below isa video from last year’s CLE featuring the renowned “Annie on my Mind” case. This year’s program will be just as compelling. Let’s just say, you will not want to miss this one. Be on the lookout for the upcoming announcement. And, as always, all CLEs are free to our Chapter’s members. For more information, see the below information on the inagural David J. Waxse Memorial Lecture Series or contact Hammons Hepner (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Eric Weslander (email@example.com).
Constitution Day (September 15, 2023) – This day in mid-September has sparked a local movement, which has spread to each courthouse in both districts. Reading the Constitution aloud from the steps of the federal courthouse will stir your emotions. Check out the photos from years’ event below. We often partner with local schools, and even had a group of preschoolers recite the preamble from memory. This year, Constitution Day falls on September 17, a Sunday, so we are observing it the Friday before. We’ll send out a reminder, but be sure to mark your calendars now for the morning of September 15.
We hope to see you at these (and the many more) events that our Chapter has to offer. Until then, continue to enjoy the rights afforded to you—the people—by our nation’s Constitution.
Law Day 2023 will be observed the first week of May. It’s never too early to start thinking about how you can spread civic education and involvement this year. The theme of this year’s Law Day will be “Cornerstones of Democracy: Civics, Civility, and Collaboration.”
Our FBA Chapter is proud of our commitment to sharing resources and learning opportunities on civic education with students in our communities. We participate in Law Day celebrations (See ABA Law Day information here: LINK) each year on May 1.
What we will need from you:
Volunteer Presenters! Please be on the lookout for an opportunity to sign-up to speak in classrooms for Law Day 2023. We need volunteers to go into schools and speak to the children (classroom assignments may be elementary through high school). We will provide you with a presentation and training on that presentation. All we need is your time! Fee
School Contacts! We need contacts to more schools/teachers who may want an attorney or judge presenter to come to their school (in-person or virtually). Please send potential teacher contacts to Civic Education and Outreach committee chair, Danielle Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org”
UMKC School of Law FBA Division
I am Spencer Hashagen, the President of the UMKC School of Law FBA Division.
Over the past year, the UMKC FBA chapter hosted our annual “Welcome Back” event. This event was attended by dozens of attorneys, judges, law students, and many UMKC law professors. After hosting the Welcome Back event, students began signing up for FBA mentors. Later in the school year, students attended and participated in reading the Constitution at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Kansas City on Constitution Day. Most recently, we hosted the Honorable Judge Lajuana Counts to speak to members about her role in the federal courts, explained her path to the federal bench, and offered advice to students.
Further, the UMKC chapter has done exceptionally well in recruiting new members. This year our chapter doubled in size. Much of this success is due to the FBA mentoring program, which has drawn students from different backgrounds to join FBA. This success has not gone unnoticed by the law school’s administration. The law school’s Professional and Career Development Center has asked to partner with our chapter in future years to inform all incoming students about the FBA Mentoring Program and all the other benefits students obtain from joining FBA.
Our chapter has jumped at this opportunity. Beginning in Fall 2023, all incoming law students will receive information on joining FBA. This partnership with the Professional and Career Development Center will ensure that FBA’s presence at UMKC will flourish for years and rapidly increase chapter membership. I believe that within two to three years, a majority of UMKC law students will be members of FBA.
As my term as President of the UMKC Division ends, I see my vision of revolutionizing FBA to become an integral part of all students’ lives beginning to cement, I am incredibly optimistic about our chapter’s future. Stay tuned for more news about the future of our chapter, great things are on the way.
The District of Kansas and Western District of Missouri Chapter is continuing to thrive! As of early April 2023, we have 205 active members. That number pushes our chapter close to our highest membership number, and we are going to grow! We invite you to encourage your friends and colleagues to join the Federal Bar Association. Our chapter provides excellent CLE opportunities as well as social events and occasions to connect with practitioners, judges, law clerks, and law students.
As part of our growing chapter, we extended membership to law clerks within our districts to start a Federal Law Clerk committee. We are in the beginning stages of starting that committee and hoping to increase law clerk participation in the Federal Bar Association. If you would like to learn more about the Federal Law Clerk committee or become involved, please reach out to me at my email at the end of this article. From our law clerk membership push, we gained 12 new law clerks—be sure to welcome them to our chapter!
For law students in particular, membership with the national Federal Bar Association (and our local chapter) is now FREE! Because of this exciting development, we are hoping to continue to work closely with the law school chapters to foster a greater relationship between the law students and our professional members. Please encourage any law students you know to join our organization! To learn more about law student membership in the Federal Bar Association, please visit https://www.fedbar.org/membership/join/associate-membership/law-students/.
FBA offers three types of membership: (1) professional membership; (2) sustaining membership; and (3) associate membership. Professional membership is considered the base tier, while sustaining membership enables participants to distinguish their membership by paying additional dues. The extra amount helps sponsors education programs and publication of the Federal Bar Association, but also allows sustaining members a discount for national meetings and CLE events. The associate membership is available to Clerks of Court, law students, law school faculty advisors, and any person admitted to practice law in any jurisdiction other than the United States. To learn more about joining the Federal Bar Association, please visit https://fedbar.org/membership/join. If you have any questions about joining the Federal Bar Association, engaging in our local chapter, or if you have any interest in participating in a membership committee, please contact me at email@example.com.
Where does the money come from to support the chapter’s community outreach efforts or continuing legal education? More often than not, financial support comes from the Federal Bar Association national office or other sources in the form of grants.
The FBA’s Federal Litigation Section is sponsoring two of the chapter’s upcoming CLE events this spring. On May 18, the chapter’s litigation and diversity committees are presenting a diversity and inclusion CLE featuring nationally recognized speaker Kori Carew. On June 20 in Olathe, the chapter is presenting a constitutional law CLE in conjunction with the Kansas First Amendment Foundation. FBA grants from the Federal Litigation Section will fund travel expenses for speakers to both events. A grant from the FBA’s chapter activity fund is being used to support a post-CLE reception April 14 in Topeka.
The chapter recently printed more than 200 civics education coloring books for distribution to students for Law Day in May in conjunction with the Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. The project was made possible by a grant from the Kansas Bar Foundation. In 2021, the chapter used funds from the FBA’s Chapter Community Outreach grant to produce a video promoting the chapter’s civics education and diversity outreach efforts. The video is available at fedbarkanmo.org.
Applying for grants is relatively simple. Please reach out me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-253-1276 for more information on how to apply for financial support for chapter activities.
CLE & Civil Jury Verdict Reporter Committee
Our chapter’s CLE and Civil Jury Verdict Reporter Committees remain productive in 2023 with many exciting issues and activities underway.
The Civil Jury Verdict Reporter Committee continues to publish five to six issues per year, depending on the number of civil cases being tried in the Districts of Kansas & Western Missouri. Civil cases of all types – patent litigation, civil rights cases, employment cases, personal injury actions included – are being tried monthly in our District’s courthouses and there are typically several verdicts per issue to report. Both Districts have kindly agreed to notify our chapter immediately when a jury verdict is reached, delivering full and instant access to the verdict form. We then monitor the number of verdicts coming in until there are enough cases to create an additional issue of the Reporter – this occurs every two to three months. We publish the Reporter directly to all of our chapter members and also maintain a non-member distribution list upon request. We plan to maintain the non-member distribution list at this point in order to disseminate this valuable information as widely as possible. Our chapter members and subscribers are enjoying the Reporter – it has been a great addition to our chapter’s programming and we plan to keep it going for many years to come!
Our CLE Committee has many exciting events underway. On the afternoon of Friday, April 14, our chapter hosted a CLE on Hearsay Issues and Courtroom Technology at the U.S. District Courthouse in Topeka. The CLE was open to all but tailored to newer attorneys. Judge Crouse was kind enough to welcome participants to open the CLE, after which time the audience heard presentations from several experienced litigators. A reception followed, and a great time was had by all. We have many other events in the works, including a CLE Webinar on the Art & Science of Jury Selection, a legal writing CLE with Judge Bacharach and other programs – all of which are set to occur in 2023.
Stay tuned – these are exciting times in the Districts of Kansas & Western Missouri!
Hello, my name is Andrew McLeese, the current President of KU Law’s Federal Bar Association Student Division. I am proud to share with you some of the exciting events and activities that our organization has been involved in over the past few months.
Last semester, we hosted a panel with several distinguished US attorneys and Federal Public Defenders. This panel provided our members with a unique opportunity to learn about the day-to-day work of these offices, as well as gain valuable insights into the federal criminal court system. Our panelists shared their experiences, challenges, and tips for success in this demanding field, and the students who attended were left well informed and inspired by the work those offices do.
In addition to our educational events, we also believe in giving back to our community. On Veteran’s Day, we volunteered at a charity race to raise funds for our nation’s veterans. We were thrilled to see so many students come out and support that event. It was a great opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to public service, while also enjoying some fresh air and exercise with our colleagues.
This semester, we hosted a career advice panel that featured young alumni and practicing attorneys from a range of legal fields. Our panelists shared their stories of career development, offered practical tips on job searching, and answered questions from our members. We were grateful for their time and expertise, and we are confident that our members gained valuable insights that will help them navigate their own career paths.
As always, we remain committed to providing our members with opportunities for learning, networking, and community engagement.
Inagural David J. Waxse Memorial Lecture Series, A Constitutional Law-Focused CLE June 20, 2023
We are proud to partner with the Kansas First Amendment Foundation this June to present the inaugural David J. Waxse Memorial Lecture Series, a Constitutional Law-focused CLE combined with an educational program for K-12 civics teachers. Attorneys are invited to obtain 3 hours of CLE credit June 20, 2023, including two hours of CLE from two leading scholars on U.S. Constitutional law, as well as a one-hour review of the U.S. Supreme Court term from two preeminent legal practitioners.
Judge Waxse, a longtime magistrate judge in the District of Kansas, passed away in March 2023 at age 77. Judge Waxse was not only a friend of the FBA, but a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Johnson County First Amendment Foundation, which recently created the Kansas First Amendment Foundation. Years before he took the bench, Judge Waxse was one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case that led to the creation of the First Amendment Foundation, Case v. U.S.D. 233, which successfully challenged a 1994 book ban by the Olathe School District.
Attorneys seeking CLE credit are invited to join us Tuesday, June 20, 2023 at the Kansas State University Olathe Innovation Campus for a 3-hour CLE program which will also include luncheon comments in honor of Judge Waxse. The program will be as follows:
At 10 a.m., Prof. Mark Graber, of the University of Maryland’ Carey School of Law, will provide a CLE presentation on the Civil War Amendments (13th, 14th and 15th Amendments). Graber, author of the forthcoming book Punish Treason, Reward Loyalty: The Forgotten Goals of Constitutional Reform After the Civil War, will address topics including:
What has been the impact of the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment on American governance and society?
What was the point of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th provisions of the 14th Amendment? Why do we hear so little about them and what might be their impact of those provisions on the contemporary United States?
What has been the impact of the doctrine of incorporation on American governance and society?
At 11 a.m., Bill Martucci and John Barkett, two nationally known litigators with Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, will review the key cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in its current term.
12 p.m.: Lunch and Remarks
At 1 p.m., Prof. Eric Berger of the University of Nebraska School of Law will address the trend in recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions toward less deference for administrative agencies’ rulemaking authority. Prof. Berger’s publications include a series of video lecture courses on Constitutional Law and award-winning scholarship on the relationship between administrative law and the Constitution. Topics to be addressed include:
Whether courts should be active in the area of agency rulemaking and, if so, whether they should approach these issues first and foremost as a matter of Constitutional law or as one of statutory interpretation.
How recent Roberts Courts decisions such as NFIB v. Department of Labor and West Virginia v. EPA have altered the legal doctrine in this area, and what long-term legal and political implications exist.
Cost: Free to FBA members; $100 for non-FBA members. Location: Kansas State University Olathe Innovation Campus, 22201 Innovation Dr., Olathe, KS 66061. Registration coming soon!