Ninth Circuit’s Civics Contest focuses on constitutional amendments, ratification


SAN FRANCISCO—“The 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: What Should Our Next Amendment Be?” is the theme of the 2023 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest, which is an annual essay and video competition open to high school students in states and territories within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.

The contest offers high school students an opportunity to win cash prizes while learning about the history of the U.S. Constitution, the constitutional amendments and the ratification process. The contest asks students to address three questions: (1) What amendment would you propose for our Constitution? (2) Why? and (3) How would you get your amendment ratified?

The contest is open to students in grades 9-12 in public, private, parochial, charter schools and home-schooled students of equivalent grade status. Students residing in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington state, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are encouraged to participate. Children and relatives of federal court employees are not eligible to participate.

A total of $11,400 in cash prizes will be awarded to the essay and video winners at the circuit level—$3,000 for first place, $1,700 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Furthermore, first- place winners at the circuit level will be invited to attend the 2023 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, where students will participate in a special program and have an and/or opportunity to meet members of the bench, bar and academia. Additionally, many students will have a chance to win cash prizes in local civics contests sponsored by federal courts throughout the Ninth Circuit that will select their winners, who will advance as finalists at the circuit level.

The contest is sponsored by the Ninth Circuit’s Public Information and Community Outreach Committee, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the federal courts that comprise the Ninth Circuit. “The PICO Committee, whose members include attorneys and judges, encourages students to participate in the contest,” said Senior District Judge John Kronstadt, PICO chair. “It provides a unique opportunity for you to learn about how our Constitution works, and the essential role of citizens in our democracy. We look forward to reading your essays and viewing your videos. Doing so always encourages us about the ability of your generation of citizens to sustain our system of government.”

The contest opened on Jan. 4, 2023. Essay and/or video entries can be submitted by uploading the file(s) on the civics contest website. Deadline to submit entries is 11:59pm Pacific Time, Monday, March 13, 2023. Finalists will be announced in May and the winners in June. (PR)

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