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The Marshall - Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project


Founded in 1999 at American University Washington College of Law with the support of Mrs. Thurgood Marshall and the late Mrs. William Brennan, the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project was designed to mobilize talented second-year and third-year law students to teach a course on the United States Constitution in the public schools of the District of Columbia and Maryland. The vision for the program is to empower high school students to be responsible citizens and lifelong participants in the democratic process by teaching them constitutional rights and responsibilities through Supreme Court cases that affect students directly.

The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project counteracts the well-known effects of "civic illiteracy" among America's youth by providing high school students with a rigorous and sustained education about the United States Constitution. Southern University Law Center started its Chapter of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project in January 2009. High school students from four East Baton Rouge Parish School System are involved in the Marshall-Brennan Project. The high school students study Supreme Court cases that explore issues concerning the tension between the requirements of school and the community, and the rights of the students. Essential programs in the Project are the Moot Court Competition and the Marshall-Brennan Constitution Fair.

In addition to facilitating instructions on the United States Constitution, Marshall-Brennan teaching fellows serve as mentors to high school students, provide students guidance about college careers and advice to those students who are considering the legal profession. The Marshall-Brennan fellows will reap the reward of giving back to the community in which they are attending law school and where many will practice law. Through teaching constitutional law concepts, the fellows are actually given an additional opportunity to prepare for an important part of the bar and to improve their reasoning skills.