The United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Central District of California invite interested high school students to participate in an essay and video contest with cash prizes (local contest). The top three finishers of the local contest automatically move forward to compete with students in the nine western states, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands (Ninth Circuit Contest).
The prompt for is “What does equal protection mean to students?”
Students should consider how Congress and the courts have applied the Equal Protection Clause to high schools, colleges and graduate schools, whether in admissions, classroom instruction or athletics. Relevant legislation includes Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990. Significant court cases include Mendez v. Westminster School District (1947); Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954); Lau v. Nichols (1974); Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978); Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) and Gratz v. Bollinger (2003); and Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District (2017).
Individual students can express their thoughts and ideas in an essay of between 500 and 1,000 words. Individuals and teams of up to three students can produce a 3-5 minute video on the theme. A student may submit only one essay and be involved in the production of only one video.
The essay or video should: 1) Demonstrate an understanding of the historical background of the Equal Protection Clause; 2) Explain the constitutional powers and rights relevant to the court cases and laws mentioned above; and 3) Discuss the important role of the Judicial Branch in preserving the rights of Americans to equal education.
The contest submission period begins February 1, 2018, and ends April 1, 2018. To be eligible to participate, students must be in grades 9th through 12th and live in one of the following counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, or Ventura.
Winners of the local contest in each category will receive the following prizes:
First Place - $1,000
Second Place - $750
Third Place - $500
Additional Recognition: First place winners of the local contest and a parent/guardian will receive an invitation to attend the 2018 Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Anaheim, California, where the Ninth Circuit Contest winners will be announced.
Cash prizes for the Ninth Circuit Contest, which are in addition to the prizes for winners of the local contest, are as follows:
First Place - $2,000
Second Place - $1,000
Third Place - $500
If a student wins first place in both the Local Contest and Ninth Circuit Contest, that student would win a total of $3,000 in cash prizes.
Teacher Appreciation: Selected teachers who assist students with their essay or video submissions may be eligible to receive cash prizes. The generous donations of various organizations and bar associations made these teacher appreciation prizes possible.
Complete rules and entry instructions are available at:
For more information regarding the local contest,
please contact Jessica Garibay at 213-894-0507
Relatives of the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts' employees are not eligible to participate.