Have you ever considered visiting a local court to observe and learn about our judicial system first hand? The historic nomination of the first Hispanic to the the U. S. Supreme Court has made big news, so this is a great time to take your children on a field trip. You might want to start small by visiting the Des Plaines Division of Administrative Hearings at City Hall. An Administrative Hearing is a civil hearing. Cases filed in the Division may result in the imposition of fines, costs, liens, or orders to clean or repair demolish property.You can call (847) 391-5303 for dates and times.
If you are a little more adventurous, you might want to visit the Circuit Court of Cook County to watch a trial. There are courthouses nearby in Rolling Meadows and Skokie. You will need to pass through security to enter the courthouse, then you can ask for information about the cases scheduled for the day. Some trials are very short. (I watched one in traffic court that lasted all of 4 minutes). Criminal court trials are longer. You can watch for a while, then move on to a different courtroom. You and your children may be surprised at what you learn.
Before you take your trip, you may want to learn about careers in law by reading A Day in Court With Mrs. Trinh or Lawyer.
You can learn about the federal judicial branch in United States Supreme Court and The Supreme Court and the Judicial Branch.
A couple of interesting biographies about famous judges include Thurgood Marshall and Meet my Grandmother : She's a Supreme Court Justice.