The Palm Beach Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) recently presented the James Otis Lecture Series to students at Palm Beach Gardens High School. Speakers included Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, Chief Judge Peter Blanc and Constitutional Law professor, Michael Allen. Bruce M. Ramsey, President Palm Beach Chapter, ABOTA said, “This was truly a terrific program designed to educate our youth about the U.S. Constitution. It was both fun and informative. We send a very special thank you to Executive Committee members William Price and John Lurvey for spearheading this event. The Chapter also extends its eternal gratitude to Justice Barbara Pariente, Chief Judge Peter Blanc and Professor Michael Allen for making this year’s program the most successful yet.”
The James Otis Lecture Series about the United States Constitution is designed to allow schools to comply with the requirements of the recent federal statute creating Constitution Day. This law requires all federally-assisted schools, both public and private, to provide educational programs each year on or about the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.
James Otis, Jr., was arguably the most influential lawyer in early American history. According to John Adams, who was present at the time, Otis’s eloquent argument presented in a Boston court room in 1761 challenging the British laws, known as the Writs of Assistance, lit the spark which led to the American Revolution. It was Otis who said “A man’s home is his castle.” Otis challenged oppressive laws which permitted warrantless searches of homes and businesses. His arguments were a ringing reaffirmation of the Anglo-American belief all men are born with certain natural and inalienable rights which cannot be violated by any king, parliament, or other governmental authority. James Otis’s famous court room presentation is captured in a sweeping mural painted by Robert Reid in 1901 in Nurse’s Hall, part of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
ABOTA created the James Otis Lecture Series to educate and inspire students across our nation so they will have appropriate knowledge of and respect for the United States Constitution.