Attorneys for Civics Education (“ACE”) was founded in 2013 by a group of Idaho attorneys who recognized the critical importance of civics education in Idaho’s schools. ACE members recognize that the key to a healthy, functioning democracy is a citizenry that is educated and knowledgeable about the United States’ Constitution and the importance of the rule of law to the continued health of our democracy.
Unfortunately, due to a variety of factors, civics education is sometimes not given as high a priority as other education subjects. Budgetary constraints have meant that the programs supported by ACE have suffered lost or greatly reduced funding.
Uniting ACE members is a common vision: to increase and sustain the opportunities for civics education in Idaho’s schools in order to ensure that Idaho’s citizens will have a solid understanding of the Constitution, the rule of law, and our form of government. Through volunteer outreach and education, ACE is committed to supporting a quality civics education for Idaho’s young people. Without that knowledge, democracy cannot succeed.
Since its inception in 2013, ACE has grown to include attorneys from various backgrounds and numerous areas of practice. We invite you to explore our website, and welcome your participation in ACE.
IDAHO PROGRAMS ACE SUPPORTS
Below are the specific Idaho programs that ACE is actively supporting at this time.
IDAHO LAW FOUNDATION MOCK TRIAL PROGRAM
The Idaho High School Mock Trial Competition, sponsored by the Idaho State Bar's Law Related Education Program, teaches students in grades 9-12 about the law and the legal system by participating in a simulated trial. In addition to the competition, the Law Related Education Program also supports the Mock Trial in the Classroom Project to expose students who do not participate in the competition to the benefits of the Mock Trial Program.
Through participation in the Idaho High School Mock Trial Competition, students from all parts of Idaho are given a hands-on opportunity to examine the legal process and current legal issues, while they develop important critical thinking, research, and presentation skills. Students prepare a hypothetical legal case. Then, in real courtrooms, before real judges, teams try their cases – from opening statements, through direct and cross examination, to closing arguments, each team has its own attorneys and witnesses and must be ready to present either side of the case. Teams compete in one of three regional tournaments in late February or early March. The top 12 qualifying teams compete in the state tournament in Boise in late March and the state champion qualifies to compete in the national tournament in May.
The Competition also includes a Courtroom Artist Contest which is open to students in grades 9 to 12, to allow artistically talented students the opportunity to participate in the mock trial program. Artists observe trials and submit sketches that depict actual courtroom scenes.
TREASURE VALLEY YMCA YOUTH IN GOVERNMENT PROGRAM
For 77 years, the Treasure Valley YMCA Youth in Government Program has engaged high school students across the great state of Idaho in an opportunity to obtain real life experience simulating and fulfilling the roles and responsibilities of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. Youth in Government program participants are actively immersed in civil engagement through developing skills in properly writing bills, parliamentary procedure, moot court competitions, lobbying, and even electing official officers including the Governor, Chief Justice, Appellate Judges and more. As school and YMCA groups compete and hold workshops at local Regional Conventions they work on preparing for the final State Convention held in Boise each year at the State Capitol Building. Youth participants can earn awards, scholarships, or even go on to participate nationally at the Conference of National Affairs representing all Idaho Youth in Government delegates.
KNOW YOUR GOVERNMENT
The 4‐H Know Your Government Project and Conference strengthens the connection between youth and our political, government, and judicial processes through education, experience, application and inspiration. Approximately 160 youth are expected to attend this year, and will have the opportunity
to attend judicial workshops, including participation in a mock trial and sentencing, or be assigned as legislators or lobbyists to work on bills and conduct a mock legislative session.