Annual Law Day Luncheon of the Chattanooga Bar Association

"LIBERTY UNDER LAW: Empowering Youth, Assuring Democracy"


(The following is the presentation by Jim Haley, CBA President )
Each year, the Chattanooga Bar Association honors an outstanding citizen in the Chattanooga area with the Liberty Bell Award for public service.  While, in this community, there are many awards for public service, the community service that we recognize today is focused.  It is intended to be service that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law.  In selecting the recipient, the Chattanooga Bar Association considers activities which (1) promote better understanding of our Constitution and Bill of Rights; (2) encourage a greater respect for law and the courts; (3) stimulate a deeper sense of individual responsibility so that citizens recognize their duties as well as their rights; (4) contribute to the effective functioning of our institutions of government; and (5) foster a better understanding and appreciation of the rule of law.  Lawyers and judges are not eligible for this award. 

          The activities that are intended to be recognized are lofty, but we have been very fortunate to have had distinguished winners, individuals who have selflessly and without monetary compensation, contributed to these very worthwhile goals.  This year, I believe is no exception.  In fact, the community which this recipient has served extends well beyond the Chattanooga city limits.  If such an award were offered at the state level, I am confident that today’s honoree would be at or near the top of the list. 

          Now, today’s winner would be a candidate for almost any of the service awards that are given in the greater Chattanooga area because he has served in so many leadership capacities, not just locally, but on a national level, including, just to give you a flavor, serving as a Trustee at the Center for the Study of the Presidency in Washington; as the Vice-Chair of the National Board of the Smithsonian Institution; and as a Member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Williams College, and the Co-Chair of its capital campaign.  Locally, almost any community organization you can name, he has touched.  However, the activities that I will mention today bear directly on the Liberty Bell Award criteria.  He seems to have a thing for judges as he currently serves as a member of the Court of the Judiciary for the State of Tennessee and a member of the Judicial Performance Program Commission for the State.  He previously has served as a member of the Governor’s Citizen Advisory Committee on Ethics in Government and as a member of the Coalition for Justice, a committee of the American Bar Association.  His membership in the Commission on the Future of the Tennessee Judicial System culminated in the publication of this report, To Serve All People, for which he served as the Chair of the Writing Committee.  This publication by our recipient and his 33 fellow commission members, which included distinguished jurists, lawyers, and business and community leaders, pulled no punches, and epitomizes the style of our recipient.  In fact, I am confident that he has stepped on the toes of almost every organization of which he has been a part and every political leader that he has encountered, and possibly some in this room.  However, by being hard-hitting and provocative, I believe he has challenged us to engage in self-reflection and constructive criticism, and to avoid complacency and reject the status quo, and by doing so, has contributed to the improvement of the legal system – precisely the criteria for recognition under this award. 

          Ladies and gentlemen, 2007’s Liberty Bell Award recipient is the former publisher of The Chattanooga Times, Paul Neely.


                                              1st Place - Dennis Sohn (5th Grade)

Protest Peacefully is a wonderful work with great examples of visual depth. Dennis shows the viewer interesting angles of the participants along with much movement. The speaker is clearly making a point with emotion while the gentlemen at the table show equal amounts of emotion from confusion to intent interest. Good job on the feeling of movement/softness of the curtains and flags. Dennis did a great job of conveying the concept of disagreeing in a civilized manner which is a right that should be exercized responsibly.

                                    2nd Place - Victoria Reed Schaaf (5th Grade)


Step by Step…Drinking and Driving is a great example of sequential art. Victoria did a tremendous job of storytelling through art. The detail in her images add to the intensity of the girls dialogue. Each panel sets the stage with interesting backgrounds and with the girls faces telling a story as the viewer’s eyes wander across each one. Nice visual balance and weight to each panel. The viewer understands exactly what is happening and desires to be like the blonde haired girl who takes her drinking responsibilities very seriously.


                                     3rd Place - Lauren Michelle Hood (5th Grade)


Liberty Empowering Future Leaders hits the nail on the head with a strong visual in the center of the image. Lady Liberty represents all that we value in this country. The handholding is a great visual metaphor for the connectedness and inclusion of youth as a part of our country and our future. The American flag as a backdrop emphasizes Lauren’s message and enfolds the characters with the strength of what it represents. By giving each character a different style, different skin, hair, and eye color, Lauren tells us that we are all included in this democracy. Strong symbolism used beautifully! 


1st Place
(7th Grade - GPS)

"Laws are the invisible wall between the white house and Lady Liberty.
Should Liberty have a boundary?
Although that wall protects us, it doesn't give us those wide open free spaces to do ANYTHING.
Everything in life must be balanced.
Does that include taking away some liberty?
Do we even care about the balance, as long as America is a bright prospering couontry?
We have no one to enforce liberty.
Only to enforce laws.
Laws are real. They are not just an idea that you consider.
Liberty is an idea that you have to grasp, but not for the sake of knowing the sweetness of it,
but to understand it with the laws.
I could look up what a law is in the dictionary and it would be a definite answer.
Liberty can not be defined.
It can only be decided by you.

2nd Place
(7th Grade - GPS)

"Why don't we trade shoes and walk in others paths of life?
law and liberty can be the same
in our case it is, in others it's not
why give me freedom?
while others can't live a better life.
we are all God's children
so we are the same
but why would the law take away others liberty?
I wish I could walk in their shoes.
see how it feels to be treated wrong.
I wish they could walk in mine, the life of selfishness of one's freedom.
Why not trade shoes?

3rd Place
(7th Grade - GPS)

Law doesn't egual Liberty,
And Liberty doesn't equal Law,
But Law is what gives us Liberty,
And Liberty is what gives us freedom to follow the Law.

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