Benchmarks: Raising the Bar on Civics Education
For high school or college students, check out our #JustAdulting page and app!
|Benchmarks is a series of civic education activities that attorneys can present when they speak to civic and community groups. Many Americans lack basic knowledge about their government and the courts; Benchmarks offers a way to bridge the gap and educate and engage audiences about civics education. Activities cover:
Each activity comes with an overview, handouts and is guided by a PowerPoint. All materials can be downloaded from The Florida Bar website.
Attorneys can receive CLE credit for making Benchmarks presentations. Benchmarks presenters can earn one ethics credit hour for each presentation for up to three presentations in a three-year reporting period. Form to apply for credit.
The Florida Bar is pleased to announce its partnership with the Informed Voters-Fair Judges Project of the National Association of Women Judges. The project focuses on increasing the knowledge of citizens regarding the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary. Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente serves as state coordinating committee chairperson for the initiative.
|Fair & Impartial Courts means that judges are free to decide cases fairly and impartially, relying only on the facts and the law. It means that judges are protected from political pressure, legislative pressure, special interest pressure, media pressure, public pressure, financial pressure, or even personal pressure.|
|Judges must be fair and impartial to all who come before them; judges must be free from partisan political influence; judges must rule on the basis of what is just, not just what is popular; and judges must be able to protect ordinary citizens from politicians, government, large corporations, and from each other.|
A Trail of Justice – by Justice Overton
New report details rising costs of judicial elections
Special-interest groups and political parties spent $24.1 million on TV ads and other election materials in state court races in 2011-2012, according to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Justice at Stake and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The report gives a detailed look at 2011-2012 state Supreme Court elections. In the first full election cycle since Citizens United, independent spending helped to fuel the costliest election cycle for TV spending in judicial election history.
|For as long as our great nation has existed, the separation of powers among three branches of government has worked to protect and defend our freedoms.
The three branches also have the power to “check and balance” each other so that each clearly has its own responsibilities – the legislative branch makes the laws; the executive branch enforces and carries out the laws; and the judicial branch interprets the laws.
For example, Congress may pass laws but the President can veto them; the president can veto laws but Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 vote; and the President and Congress may agree on a law but the Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional.