Operation Protect & Defend was established in 2001 through the efforts of the Honorable Frank C. Damrell, Jr. (Ret.) in concert with members of the local bench and bar, and Sacramento area teachers. Believing strongly in their obligation to serve our nation by actively fostering important democratic principles, judges, lawyers and teachers have worked each year to design a curriculum, including selected readings and court opinions, to help educate students on critical constitutional topics. Since 2001, over two thousand students have participated in the program, and more than one hundred cash awards and prizes have been provided to students. Operation Protect & Defend remains firmly committed to engaging Sacramento area high school students in learning key principles of the United States Constitution and to how those principles impact their lives.

Past Operation Protect & Defend Topics

Each year the program focuses on a specific topic that connects students to contemporary constitutional issues. Prior topics include:

Racism and Lawlessness in the South
2002-2004 and 2007-2008

Contempt of Court: The Turn-of-the- Century Lynching that Launched 100 Years of Federalism


World War II Japanese American Internment

Hirabayashi v. U.S. (1943)
Yasui v. U.S. (1943)
Korematsu v. U.S. (1944)
Ex Parte Endo (1944)


From Tinker to Morse: Student Speech - How Free?

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988)
Texas v. Johnson (1989)
Morse v. Frederick (2007)


Constitutional Rights on Campus: How Free?
2009-2010 and 2010-2011

Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
Morse v. Frederick (2007)
Layshock v. Hermitage (2008)
Safford v. Redding (2009)


Immigrants and the Constitution

Plyler v. Doe (1982)
Westminster School District of Orange County v. Mendez (1947)
Knauff v. Shaughnessy (1950)
San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973)


Due Process and Criminal Trials

Cage v. Louisiana  (1990)
Griffin v. California (1965) 
Batson v. Kentucky (1986)
Irvin v. Dowd (1961) 

All rights reserved. These materials or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the foundation except for the use in an educational setting with proper citation of the source.

Join The Team

Operation Protect & Defend is a program for Sacramento area high schools sponsored by the The Sacramento Federal Judicial Library & Learning Center.
If you are a teacher, administrator, student, judge or lawyer wanting to get involved in Operation Protect & Defend, we encourage you to contact us for additional information.

Apply Now >>