Magistrate Judge Speaks on Constitution Day

September 25, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — James R. Knepp II ‘86, Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio in Toledo, spoke about Constitution Day on September 17 at the University of Mount Union.

Knepp was appointed to the position of Magistrate Judge by the Judges of the Northern District of Ohio effective July 30, 2010. Previously, he worked as an associate and member at Robison, Curphy and O’Connell in Toledo, Ohio. Knepp is a 1986 Mount Union graduate. He has a Master of Arts from Bowling Green State University and a Juris Doctor from University of Toledo College of Law.

Knepp has been active in the Toledo community, serving on the boards of the Franciscan Academy at Lourdes University, Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, and previously Legal Aid of Western Ohio/ABLE and the Toledo Legal Aid Society.  He is a past President of the Toledo Junior Bar Association and former member of the board of directors of the Toledo Bar Association.  He is a member of the Morrison R. Waite Inn of Court and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference.

He and his wife, Linda, whom he met during law school, have two children, Sarah, 17 and Joshua, 12.

Knepp outlined the importance of the Constitution and also focused on freedom of speech. Using two different court cases, Knepp illustrated how controversial freedom of speech can be.

“Free speech isn’t free, you might have to listen to stuff you don’t want to hear,” Knepp stated. “To make freedom of speech have teeth, it is freedom of all speech.”

Knepp also shared his favorite part about his job, leading new citizens in oath of citizenship. Knepp is inspired by their dedication of learning the constitution. To conclude his speech, Knepp recited the preamble to the Constitution.

The U.S. typically celebrates Constitution Day on September 17 to commemorate the day in 1787 when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met to sign the document they created. The delegates had begun meeting to revise the Articles of Confederation but decided that would not be sufficient. Instead, they would write an entirely new document designed to clearly define and separate the powers of the central government, the powers of the states, the rights of the people and how the representatives should be elected.

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