2018 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt, Chief Judge Merlin Wheeler to host exhibit on the Magna Carta in Emporia

Release Date: Apr 24, 2018

EMPORIA – (April 24, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Chief Judge Merlin Wheeler will host a local display on the history of the Magna Carta – the 13th century document that set the course for democracy in England, and greatly influenced democracy in the United States.

The exhibit will be on display at the Emporia State University Memorial Union during the month of May. School classes, youth groups, civic clubs and members of the public are invited to visit the display. The building is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.

“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 American laws.

“Even though first adopted in 1215, the contents of the Magna Carta influenced formation of the American Constitution and its principles retain their importance even in modern times,” Wheeler said. “Many of our most cherished personal freedoms are derived from this historic document. These include the concepts that the power of government is limited and there are inherent rights of individuals that must be honored and preserved, including the right to trial by jury. But most importantly, it serves as a reminder that those who govern are themselves subject to the rule of law. I encourage everyone to come and observe this display and consider the importance of its influence on our system of law.”

Schmidt and Wheeler 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 chief judge also said they would help arrange presentations about civics and the rule of law for civic clubs, school groups and other interested organizations. Those interested in requesting a presentation may contact Marcy Cork by phone at 620-341-6452 or by email at mcork@emporia.edu.

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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