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2023 Civics Contest

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: What Should Our Next Amendment Be?

The United States Constitution has three main functions. It creates a national government consisting of three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial. It divides governmental powers between the federal government and the states. It also protects individual liberties from the government.

Since the Constitution was ratified in 1789, more than 12,000 amendments have been proposed and many remain pending as partially approved. Only 27 amendments have been successfully ratified and incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. For example: The First Amendment (1791) protects the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the free exercise of religion. The First Amendment also prevents the government from favoring one religion over another. The 13th Amendment (1865) abolished slavery. The 19th Amendment (1920) guaranteed women the right to vote. Other amendments were proposed but have not been ratified, including banning flag burning, guaranteeing equal rights regardless of sex, electing the president by popular vote, curbing climate change, and guaranteeing the right to privacy.

What amendment would you propose for our Constitution? Why? How would you get your amendment ratified?

Individual students can express their thoughts and ideas in an essay of between 500 and 1,000 words. Individuals or teams of up to three students can produce a 3-5 minute video on the theme. A student may submit both an essay and a video, but only one of each.

The essay or video should 1) describe your proposed amendment and explain why it is needed today, supporting your argument with legal and/or historical examples; and 2) describe the process you would use to get your amendment ratified.

The 2023 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest is open to high school students in nine western states and two Pacific island jurisdictions. Students from public, private, parochial and charter schools as well as homeschooled students of equivalent grade status may enter. 

The United States District Court and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon will conduct a local contest to select finalists for the circuit-wide competition. To enter the local contest, students must reside in the State of Oregon. In addition to advancement to the circuit contest, local winners will receive cash prizes.

For more information on contest rules, see the attached flyer or visit the Ninth Circuit Civics Contest website.

For more information about the district contest, please contact: Esther Dunn-Fellows (503) 326-8041 /