The Secret’s in the Civics, O’Connor Says

Riled by the continuing partisan scorn leveled at U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts based on his deciding vote in this summer’s Obamacare ruling, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that those who label Roberts as a “traitor” simply don’t understand how the judicial branch operates. “Comments like that demonstrate, only too well, the lack of understanding that some of our citizens have about the role of the judicial branch,” ABC News quoted O’Connor as saying.

As part of her effort to curb the incorrect perceptions of the judicial system, O’Connor founded the website in 2009. The free website is geared toward young people, using interactive games and easy-to-read passages about the three branches of government to help educate visitors on the importance of civic participation and the role government plays in our daily lives. During her recent appearance before the Judiciary Committee, O’Connor recalled her own civics studies while growing up in El Paso; she said she found the subject “miserable” but hopes current civics teachers can make the topic more palatable for today’s students.

O’Connor has championed the cause of increasing civics education since 2006, when she retired as the first female justice to serve on the nation’s highest court. Her effort is a noble one and could help combat the view that judicial decisions are supposed to be political preferences, as opposed to legal interpretations. 

And, while they’re at it, maybe the kids in the classroom could make a few seats available for certain political pundits and radio talk jocks. 

Posted: 9/14/2012 12:00:00 AM by Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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