We are pleased to announce our Sixteenth (16th) Annual Law Day Essay Contest (2021 Law Day Essay Contest) .

The deadline for entry to the 2021 Law Day Essay Contest was April 15 and entries are now closed.

The theme for Law Day in 2021 is Advancing the Rule of Law. In 2021 America, and the World, saw restrictions to civil liberties that seem unprecendented to the modern mind; including restrictions on when you can leave your home, where you can go, or whether or not you can work. It also saw the restrictions of rights guaranteed by the Constitution. No jury trials have occurred in Georgia since March 2020. Grand juries did not meet in Georgia until October- suspending the right of indictment. The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that the right to bail was partially suspended as a result of the pandemic. Our question this year asks students to consider the dynamic between the rights of citizens and the power of government.

Our Law Day Essay Contest is designed to encourage young people to think about the role of law in society and how law affects their everyday lives, even at a young age. Local Juvenile Court Judge Warren Caswell has sponsored this contest each year since opening his practice in Madison County and has continued the tradition throughout his service on the bench. Law Day, May 1st of each year, was first proclaimed by President Eisenhower in 1958. Law Day is a day of national dedication to the principle of government under law so that we all can strengthen our American heritage of liberty, justice and equality under the law.

The 2021 Northern Judical Circuit Juvenile Court Sixteenth Annual Law Day Essay Contest is open to students in the 9th-12th grades residing in Elbert, Franklin, Hart, Madison & Oglethorpe counties. Students who are under the supervision of the Northern Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court are also eligible regardless of where they are currently placed. Essays will be judged primarily on how well the student supports his/her arguments. Additionally, essays will be judged based upon format, clarity, style, creativity and overall effort. As always, essays will not be judged based upon the ultimate answer or position taken.

Background Information for Essay:

During the last year the governments at both the State and Federal level have suspended rights of citizens to obtain a trial by jury as well as the right to have their cases reviewed by a grand jury, the right to bail, and other rights. However, this is not the first time that rights guaranteed by the Constitution have been suspended. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln unilaterally suspended the right of habeas corpus in Maryland. In 1917 the Congress deprived all males older than 14 of their citizenship rights in the United States if they had ties to the German Empire, suspending the 14th Amendment. In 1942 President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 suspending the rights of freedom of association and travel for Japanese Americans by requiring that they relocate to internment camps. Many other restrictions of civil liberties have occurred, or been proposed, during times of perceived crisis in the United States. Always present however, is the question of not only whether the government should restrict those rights; but also does it have (or should it have) the power under the Constitution?


Considering the above background information, compose an essay answering the following question: In an emergency, should the government be allowed to suspend rights guaranteed by the Constitution?

Entrants should choose a definite position pertaining to the topic and write a persuasive essay for their chosen position. The essay should attempt to balance their desired goal with the direction of our law and Constitution. A complete answer will examine the rights of citizens and the need of government to exercise its power for the good of both society and the individual.

First Prize is a $350.00 cash scholarship. Essays must be postmarked by April 15, 2021 to be eligible for consideration. The winners will be announced on May 1st 2021. The winning essay will be published on our website and the manuscript will be submitted to the student's local newspaper, in addition to the cash prize. Additional information on the contest can be found here: Announcement

All entries must be accompanied by a completed and signed entry form available here.
Entry Form


The purpose of the Law Day Essay Contest is to encourage students to think about the role of law in American Government and how they interact with law on a daily basis- even as youths. The winning entries are posted below in Adobe pdf format.

2021 Winners

No submissions.

2020 Winners

Miss Caitlin Parker

2019 Winners

1st Place Miss Ellie Brown

2nd Place Mr. Erik Blomberg

2018 Winners

1st Place Miss Selena Simmons

2nd Place Alden Loftis

2017 Winners

1st Place Miss Elizabeth Johnson

2nd Place Mr. Jackson Caruso

2016 Winners

1st Place Miss Samantha Kincaid

2nd Place Mr. Eric Whitmire

2015 Winners

1st Place Mr. Andrew S. Zemaitis

2nd Place Miss Hannah Smith

2014 Winners

1st Place Mr. Zachary Tellano

2nd Place Mr. Andrew S. Miller

2013 Winners

1st Place Mr. Andrew S. Miller

2nd Place Mr. Zachary Tellano

2012 Winners

1st Place Miss Amanda Eubanks

2nd Place Miss Hannah Smith

2011 Winners

1st Place Miss Amanda Eubanks

2nd Place Miss Madeline Yearwood

2009 Winners

1st Place Mr. Hoyt Henshaw

2nd Place Miss Collin Bryant

2008 Winners

1st Place Mr. Dallas Porterfield

2nd Place Miss Kalie Hall