June Hannon, Judge Baskin, and Patty Dobbin

Judge Baskin describes the Judicial System and its role in the balance of power

On Monday, March 8, Judge Barry Baskin of the Contra Costa County Superior Court discussed constitutional law and the balance of power in the judicial system with local high school students. Judge Baskin was the third presenter in the Exchange Club's Scholarship Speakeršs series.

Judge Baskin explained the historical basis for the authority of the United States Supreme Court and how it interacts with the other branches of government as part the system of checks-and-balances. He then used present-day examples to show how legislative action or the outcome of propositions may involve lawsuits and court cases. He detailed the process for such cases in the California system of justice and explained how such cases are brought to the federal courts. The state courts and federal courts have an internal check-and-balance system which involves several levels of appeal and, in the case of the federal courts, may ultimately have a case tried by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The object of the Scholarship Essay Competition is for students to write an essay to demonstrate their understanding of how our government is affected by the balance of power between the branches of government. Students attend presentations in the Speaker's Series and interact with prominent local leaders. They must also use the Freedom Shrines as reference material for their essay.

Scholarship awards are $1,500, $1,000 and $500. PG&E donated a scholarship grant and AT&T supported the installation of Freedom Shrines of Historical Documents. Other speakers have been former Assemblyman Guy Houston and businesswoman, Judy Lloyd. Former Assemblywoman Lynne Leach is the last speaker in the series and will speak March 22.