Civics With Sasse: Essay Contest for High School Students

Civics With Sasse: Essay Contest for High School Students
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., questions President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Washington, D.C. – As part of his commitment to use the current Supreme Court confirmation hearings as an opportunity to teach civics – to both the public and his colleagues, it seems – Senator Ben Sasse has announced an essay contest in recognition of Constitution Day, September 17th.

Dubbed the “We the People Essay Contest,” Sasse’s essay contest is open to all Nebraska high school students. Students who wish to enter must submit an essay of 500 words or less on the essay subject:“The Relationship Between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution” by 8pm CT on Monday, September 24th. Students must include their name, school, and government teacher’s name at the time of submission. Homeschooled students are also welcome to enter – simply list “homeschooled” in place of school/Government teacher.

Sasse wants to make sure these civics lessons make it all the way from Nebraska to Washington, D.C. Three essays will be chosen as winners, one from each of Nebraska’s Congressional Districts. The winning essays will be entered into the Official Senate Record during debate over Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Constitution Day is the perfect time to take Schoolhouse Rock civics to Washington, and that’s what Nebraska students can help me do,” said Senator Sasse. “I’m excited to read what they write and will enter winning essays into the Congressional Record.”

This isn’t the first time Sasse has posed this weighty question. The Senator asked both Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh a version of this question during their confirmation hearings.

  • Senator Sasse asked Judge Brett Kavanaugh about the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Video available here.
  • Senator Sasse asked then-Judge Neil Gorsuch about what role the Declaration of Independence plays in constitutional interpretation. Video available here.

More information about the essay contest for teachers and parents is available here.  Essay submissions and completed forms should be sent to: