The White Center runs the Colorado chapter of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. The Project was started by American University in 1999, and currently has chapters in 18 states. The goal of the Project is to increase youth awareness and understanding of our legal system and the Constitution by sending upper-level law students into public high schools to teach a semester-long course about the law, juvenile justice, and other related topics.
Each fall, Colorado law students work with high school students to foster debate and discussion about important legal issues that impact students' lives. Using a problem developed every year by the national headquarters of the Project, law students teach the high school students how to reason, formulate persuasive arguments, and make oral presentations on each side of the problem. Each fall, the Colorado law students prepare for their teaching roles by taking a course, Education and the Constitution.
In the spring, interested high school students who participated in the Project have the opportunity to compete against each other in a state-wide moot court competition. The competition is hosted by the White Center and judged by Justices from the Colorado Supreme Court and Judges from the Colorado Court of Appeals. The top six finalists of that competition then represent Colorado in the national competition in Washington, D.C., accompanied by their law student coaches.
In 2019, three of Colorado’s six competitors made it to the semi-finals of the national competition! One of our competitors, Zail Acosta, made it to the finals and was named the best oralist representing petitioner in the country.
—Matthew Cushing, Director of Executive and Community Learning Programs