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The 8th Annual Ancer L. Haggerty Civil Rights Essay Contest

The Honorable Ancer L. Haggerty has served as a judge in Oregon since 1989, first on the state bench, and since 1994 as a judge of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. He is the first and only African-American to serve as a federal judge in Oregon. He also served for many years as Chief Judge of the District Court of Oregon.

In honor of Judge Haggerty’s avid and long-time support of civics programs in our schools, the Federal Bar Association is sponsoring this civil rights essay contest for high school students in Oregon.**


The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, and generally requires that a law enforcement officer have “probable cause” in order to obtain a warrant to conduct a search. However, the United States Supreme Court has decided that in school settings, school officials do not have to obtain a warrant or have probable cause to search a student. Instead, officials may conduct a search of a student if they have “reasonable suspicion” to believe the student has broken the law or violated a school regulation. In Safford Unified School District. #1 v. Redding, the Supreme Court used the “reasonable suspicion” standard to examine the reasonableness of a search of a middle-school student suspected of bringing prescription and over-the-counter pain killers to school. Read the Syllabus and Opinion of the Court in the Safford case located at: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/08pdf/08-479.pdf (Syllabus, pgs. 1-4; Opinion of the Court, pgs. 1-13). Discuss whether you agree or disagree that the lower standard of “reasonable suspicion” is sufficient to conduct searches in school settings and explain the reasons supporting your opinion.

Length: Between 800-1,500 words.

Criteria: We are looking for well-written, persuasive essays that clearly address the topic. Outside research is not required, but extra points may be awarded for papers that incorporate other sources. Please be sure to include on the front page of your essay your name, school (if applicable), and email address or phone number where you may be reached.

Deadline: Essays must be received before 5:00pm on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

Prizes: 1st Place: New iPad

2nd place: $250

3rd place: $100

Send entries to:

Hwa Go
Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC
1001 SW 5th Avenue, 16th Floor
Portland, OR 97204



Questions may be directed to Hwa Go at: hwa.go@harrang.com or 503-242-0000

** Eligible students include those who are enrolled in an Oregon high school, as well as those who are home schooled.


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