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Tampa Bay area high school students celebrate Constitution Day at Stetson Law


Nearly 100 Tampa Bay area high school students celebrated U.S. Constitution Day at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport on Sept. 20. Stetson Law and the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates sponsored the James Otis Lecture Series educational program. Martin Dyckman, author and retired associate editor of the St. Petersburg Times, and Stetson constitutional law professor Louis Virelli, provided the keynote address.

Martin Dyckman talked with high school students visiting Stetson Law on Sept. 20.

Martin Dyckman talked with high school students visiting Stetson Law on Sept. 20.

The James Otis Lecture Series provides young people with insights into the history and importance of the U.S. Constitution. The original U.S. Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Of the 55 state delegates that participated in the convention to form a new government based on the principles of self-government and the rule of law, 32 were lawyers, and James Otis Jr. was arguably one of the most influential lawyers in early American history. He challenged oppressive laws permitting warrantless searches of homes and businesses. According to John Adams, Otis’ argument challenging British laws was the basis of the American Revolution.

The high school students in attendance were recognized as James Otis Scholars. The American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society, Stetson student organizations, helped sponsor the event.