Oregon’s Supreme Court justices launched a statewide civics tour of their own to educate high school students about how the state’s three branches of government work together. Turns out, there were plenty of adults who were enlightened by the tour as well.
Justice Paul De Muniz says the justices held town hall forums from Pendleton to Prineville, Baker City to Gold Beach and plenty of stops in between. They presented real cases and invited local legislators, mayors, police chiefs and other officials to provide their perspectives on the cases so audiences could understand issues from the legislative, law enforcement and judicial aspects.
“Our effort was not just to be talking about the judicial branch, but to show the relationship between the three branches of government so people could see how the government works and understand the checks and balances,” De Muniz says.
He personally valued the tour because it helped Oregonians appreciate how their democracy works and the essential role the court system plays in it.
“It shows how important it is to have fair and impartial courts and how important this is in our lives. This is not passed down in our DNA, so it’s our responsibility to share it with younger generations,” De Muniz says.
— Melody Finnemore