2017 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt, Chief Judge Kevin Berens to host exhibit on the Magna Carta

Release Date: Apr 25, 2017

COLBY – (April 25, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Chief Judge Kevin Berens will host a local display on the history of the Magna Carta – the 13th century document which set the course for democracy in England, and greatly influenced democracy in the United States.

The exhibit will be on display at the Prairie Museum of Art and History from May 1 to 31. School classes, youth groups, civic clubs and members of the public are invited to visit the display during regular museum hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Although the Magna Carta itself will not be on display – the four surviving original copies remain in England – the exhibit features several educational displays on the historic document.

“While the Magna Carta began as a series of grievances from barons in medieval England, the fundamental rights that were laid out in that document were later echoed in our own Declaration of Independence, and have been symbolic of liberty and democracy,” Schmidt said. “I encourage civic clubs, educators and other interested citizens to use this opportunity to discuss our civic history and to engage in learning about the precious system of self-government we have inherited from those who came before.”

The Magna Carta has also had great influence on the development of laws.

“The branches of protections found in the Constitution of the United States of America find some of their roots in the Magna Carta,” Berens added. “The basic concepts of protection memorialized in the Magna Carta include the rights to bring grievance against the government, to trial by jury, due process, arraignment, and the right against cruel and unusual punishment. The most important principle established in the Magna Carta is that government actions should be based on legal authority. Everyone should come and learn more about the formation and content of this historic document.”

Schmidt and Berens encouraged all local residents, and particularly students, to visit the display and learn more about the Magna Carta’s legacy. The attorney general and the judge also said they would help arrange presentations about civics and the rule of law for civic clubs, school groups and other interested organizations during the month the Magna Carta display is in Colby. To schedule a visit, contact Chris Griffin, executive director of the museum by phone at (785) 460-4590 or by email at prairiem@st-tel.net.

The exhibit was produced by the American Bar Association in honor of the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary in 2015. Although that anniversary has passed, the exhibit is on traveling display. More information about the display and the Magna Carta is available on the attorney general’s website at www.ag.ks.gov/magna-carta.

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