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Justices lead professional development for social studies teachers Monday, October 25, 2021

Sixteen history, government, and social studies teachers from across the state took part in the eighth North Dakota Justices Teaching Institute: “The Constitution and Judicial Decision-Making” Oct. 21-22 in Bismarck.

The North Dakota Supreme Court developed this public outreach program to foster a better civic understanding of the role of the courts, how courts work and how judges make decisions.  Following the Institute, teachers will be able to teach others with confidence about the nature, history, structure, function, and processes of the courts and the legal system.

The Institute was facilitated by the Honorable Jon J. Jensen, the Honorable Gerald W. VandeWalle, the Honorable Daniel J. Crothers, the Honorable Lisa Fair McEvers, and the Honorable Jerod E. Tufte.

With Supreme Court justices as their guides the teachers explored the judicial system and the criminal and civil court process in the context of preparing for the Institute's final application – a mock oral argument. Justice Crothers taught a class on compelled speech.

Justice McEvers spoke to the educators about the First Amendment.

The participants served as justices and decided a First Amendment constitutional question on compelled speech argued by Karlei Neufeld of the Attorney General’s Office and Travis Finck, the director of North Dakota Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents. 


Participants were Toni Barth, Glenburn; Breanne Blomquist, Fargo; Kellen Enget, Lakota; Brian Grove, Strasburg; Elizabeth Hazeldine, Fargo; Michelle Hornseth, Mott; John Johanson, Fargo; Erik Kautzman, Beach; Christopher Kennedy, Cooperstown; David Locken, Fessenden; Robin McCurry, Minot; Raechel Newgard, Edmore; Bryan Pechtl, Mandan; Heidi Schwantes, Bismarck; Shannon Sorenson, Bismarck; and Robert Young, Pingree.

To earn a continuing education credit from the University of North Dakota, participants must complete at least 3 hours of in-classroom work with their students; teaching them the concepts learned at the Institute.

The next Justices Teaching Institute is scheduled for October 2023.