At the invitation of fifth grade student Garrett Wahl, Belle Aire Intermediate received a visit Monday from Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy and Ohio State Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House).
The two spoke to the third, fourth and fifth grade assembly about Ohio’s system of government. Sen. Peterson described working with the other senators and representatives to create laws the people of Ohio want. To illustrate, he asked the students to raise their hands if they wanted more school days, and for another show of hands if they wanted fewer.
He described the process of creating a new state law, from organizing expert testimony, to helping legislators craft a bill, to voting from both the House and the Senate to pass the bill and finally it goes to the governor, where the bill will either be vetoed or signed into law. Peterson also encouraged the students to value their education and work hard to achieve their dreams.
“That’s the kind of thing we consider,” Peterson said. “How many people want us to do this? If you take the benefit of what your teachers give you every day, you too can succeed at whatever you want to do.”
Ultimately, Peterson said, even if the governor signs a new law, it can still be challenged in court by anyone who believes the law violates his or her constitutional rights. Such challenges end up at the Ohio Supreme Court, where Justice Kennedy and the six other justices decide whether the law may remain as written, or if it should be stricken as unconstitutional.
Justice Kennedy then spoke about her job and related many of the aspects of Ohio’s three branches of government to the magical world of Harry Potter. Virtually every hand in the room shot up when she asked how many students knew about the three unforgivable curses.
“Just as the departments in the Ministry of Magic made the law saying that no witch or wizard was allowed to use any of the three unforgivable curses, here in the “muggle” (human) world, that’s what your state legislature does,” Kennedy said. “They make the laws for us, and the executive branch, just like the Minister of Magic, has to enforce those laws.
“Decide for yourself what you want to be,” Kennedy said. “You may never be able to cast a spell like Harry, Hermione, and Ron, but you can have a magical life. You can use your education and the opportunities you see along the way to achieve your dreams.”
The information in this article was provided by organizers of the visit.