Law Day Essay 2016

The Senior Lawyers Division sponsors an exciting statewide Law Day Essay Contest and encourages all local Bars to participate!

For the past several years the Spartanburg County Bar Association, under the leadership of Judge Mark Hayes, has sponsored an essay contest on constitutional issues. Approximately 400 students in grades 9-12 in the public schools of Spartanburg, Union and Cherokee counties have participated. Teachers in each school choose the best student essays from each grade. The winning essays were then submitted to the Spartanburg County Bar Association, which, in turn, chose the best essay from each grade and the best overall essay.    

On Law Day the county bar invited the winning students, their teachers, parents and friends to the courthouse, where all of the students were publically honored and each grade winner presented a $100 check and the overall winner a $500 check. In addition, each student was given a plaque and a medal. The event generates media attention and excitement among the participants. More importantly, the students are involved in the study of the rule of law, our judicial system and the U.S. Constitution.

For the statewide contest, the Senior Lawyers Division will receive submissions from each participating county or group of counties. From these essays, a winner will be chosen for each grade, as well as an overall winner. The winning students will be recognized and presented with a $500 check and the overall winner with a $1,000 check. Appropriate plaques and medals will also be presented. Homeschooled students are also encouraged to participate.

This is a marvelous opportunity for lawyers to interact with the community and, more importantly, to stimulate the interest of our youth in our judicial system and the rule of law. Links to the Local and State 2017 Law Day Essay Contest Packets are below. The theme is The 14th Amendment: Transforming American Democracy. If you are interest in participating in this project, please contact Judge Mark Hayes at (864) 562-4144 or

2018 Law Day Essay Packet 2016 Winning Essay 2017 Winning Essay

The Law Day essay contest encourages young people to give thought to current social and legal issues and to express their views on the issues. The essay topics for 2017 included: 

  • Two of the last three presidents were elected without winning the popular vote.  Does the Electoral College serve a valid purpose today?  Please explain your answer.

  •   The residents of the District of Columbia are subject to the same responsibilities and tax burdens as the residents of the fifty states but are not represented in the US Senate and have a non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives.  Should this change and if so, how?  Please explain your position.

  • Do curfew laws violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment?  Please explain your answer.

  • The US Supreme Court has held that neither the due process clause nor the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment entitle youth in the juvenile justice system to a jury trial.  Would you have decided that issue differently?  Please explain your reasoning.

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