Fort Riley, Kansas

 

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Fort Riley citizens sharpen focus on amendments

By Andy Massanet | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | May 19, 2017

     “In celebration of Law Day, May 1, 2017, I encourage federal judges throughout the country to recognize the day and this year’s theme, “The Fourteenth Amendment: Transforming American Democracy,” as we work together to advance public education about the constitutional values that define and shape our great nation.” - John G. Rob­erts Jr., Chief Justice of the United States

     The reasons for observing Law Day each year came into sharp focus as attorneys and staff of the Office of the Staff Judge Advo­cate engaged in continuing law education May 1.

     To both support Continuing Legal Edu­cation for the post’s legal team and to ob­serve Law Day, Jeffery Jackson, legal analy­sis, Research and Writing Program for the Washburn University School of Law in To­peka, Kansas, was invited to discuss the im­portance of the Sixth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution to the lives of all Americans. The event has held at Fort Riley’s Patton Hall.

     The 14th amendment, Jackson reminded his audience, ensures citizens cannot be de­prived of life, liberty or property without due process of law or deny to any person the equal protection of the law and that Congress can enforce the provisions of this amendment by appropriate legislation.

     In addition, Jackson discussed the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution that sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions. The provisions of that amendment include the right to a public trail without unneces­sary delay, the right to an impartial jury, the right to face one’s accusers and to have the assistance of defense counsel.

     The evolution of both amendments, along with the rest of the Constitution, re­sulted in a Bill of Rights that “knit us to­gether as a nation,” Jackson said. Today, he added, Americans are protected by the Bill of Rights “no matter where they go.” No state can pass laws that abridge those rights.

     After the seminar, Jackson reaffirmed the value of Law Day.

     “I think it’s most important to realize how much the law affects everybody,” he said. “We kind of take for granted the idea that there is this strong rule of law and that allows us to do pretty much everything we need to do in society. Without it we would not be able to have the society we live in.”

     For the legal team at Fort Riley’s OSJA, Law Day was the culmination of nearly a full week of activities that included Jack­son’s presentation, a Moot Court session at Junction City High School and a visit to the OSJA by students from Fort Riley and Seitz Elementary Schools.

     Capt. Lauren Fasano, an attorney for the OSJA and one of the organizers of the Law Day events, said it’s important to take time and recognize the importance of the U.S. Constitution.

     “The Constitution is the cornerstone of American life and liberty today, just as it has been throughout our history,” she said. “Law Day provides an important forum to facili­tate open dialogue, so we can reflect on our history as well as our current state of affairs within the context of the rule of law.” More­over, she said Law Day “enables us to both reach out to the community and engage in professional development (for attorneys and paralegals).”

     Lt. Col. Joseph Mackey, acting Staff Judge Advocate for the 1st infantry Divi­sion and Fort Riley, agreed: “like all impor­tant things, we need to pause and reflect on the Constitution’s significance to all of us as citizens so we do not take our rights for granted.”

 

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