Judge Marjorie Rendell Leads Free Speech Discussion and Mock Trial at KOP Campus

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 9, 2014

Acadia University’s School of Continuing Studies and The Rendell Center for Civics and Citizenship hosted the Third Annual Civics and Law Academy developed for high school students, teachers, and educational leaders at the university’s King of Prussia Campus on May 1. The topic of free speech in schools and its legal ramifications was at the center of the day’s activities.

Judge Marjore O. Rendell, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Former First Lady of Pennsylvania, kicked off the program with a mock Supreme Court Case based upon a recent appellate case on school speech. Lawyers from the Pennsylvania Bar Association joined Judge Rendell in leading the students through this dialog held in celebration of Law Day.

Nearly 80 high school students and teachers from the following nearby districts were in attendance, including Springfield, Norristown, Philadelphia, Souderton Area, and North Penn. The mock Supreme Court Hearing was based on a recent Third Circuit decision, and involved students taking each position and presenting the appropriate arguments. The final stage of the hearing concluded with the student Supreme Court rendering their decision in support of the free speech rights of the students.

Following the hearing, a special panel entitled Judges on Judging allowed for students and their teachers to engage in a candid question and answer session with judges Garret Page, Karen Eisner Zucker, and Susan Gantman.