About the James Otis Lecture Series
The South Carolina Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) is proud to be a participating Chapter in the James Otis Lecture Series. Our lecture program about the United States Constitution is designed to allow schools in South Carolina to comply with the requirements of the recent federal statute creating Constitution Day. This law requires all federally assisted schools, both public and private, to provide educational programs each year on or about the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution.
South Carolina has a long and proud history shaped by lawyers and judges who have made lasting contributions to the rule of law, to the process of self-government, and to the preservation of our precious individual liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Over the years, many South Carolinians have sacrificed their lives or suffered great personal loss to advance the cause of liberty. As part of our program, we acknowledge the great debt we owe to our Founding Fathers and to these patriots.
James Otis, Jr., was arguably the most influential lawyer in early American history. According to John Adams, who was present at the time, Otis’s eloquent argument presented in a Boston court room in 1761 challenging the British laws, known as the Writs of Assistance, lit the spark which led to the American Revolution. It was Otis who said, “A man’s home is his castle.” Otis challenged oppressive laws which permitted warrantless searches of homes and businesses. His arguments were a ringing reaffirmation of the Anglo-American belief all men are born with certain natural and inalienable rights which cannot be violated by any king, parliament, or other governmental authority. James Otis’s famous court room presentation is captured in a sweeping mural painted by Robert Reid in 1901 in Nurse’s Hall, part of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
ABOTA created the James Otis Lecture Series to educate and inspire students across our nation so they will have appropriate knowledge of and respect for the United States Constitution. We are honored to have several noteworthy participants in today’s program, both from South Carolina and elsewhere. Together with students representing high schools throughout South Carolina, we celebrate this important and historic event. We congratulate our carefully selected students and recognize them as James Otis Scholars.