Constitution Day

September 17, 2012, 9:00am – 12:00pm
Georgetown University Law Center

Constitution Day 2012

Plugging National Security Leaks While Preserving Free Speech

Constitutional Commentary Award Presentation & Panel Discussion

 
Recent disclosures of information the government maintains is classified have generated harsh criticism - of both the "leakers" and of the media outlets that made the information public - from some policymakers and commentators. Congressional and Department of Justice inquiries are underway, and it is possible that criminal charges could follow. With the number of "leak"-related cases on the rise, such investigations and prosecutions highlight important questions about the relationship between investigative journalism, national security disclosures, and the First Amendment.

 

Register here to listen to this Web cast


Panelists:

  • Lucy Dalglish, Dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, former Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; former media lawyer, trial department, Dorsey & Whitney LLP; former Reporter and Editor, St. Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Dana Priest, Investigative Reporter, The Washington Post; Co-Author, Top Secret America; Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Harvey Rishikof, Chair, Advisory Committee of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security; former Senior Policy Advisor, Director of Counterintelligence Executive, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Kenneth L. Wainstein, Partner, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP; Homeland Security Advisor, President George W. Bush; Assistant Attorney General for National Security; General Counsel and Chief of Staff to the Director of the FBI
  • Laura K. Donohue (moderator), Associate Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School; Faculty Affiliate Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law


Just some of the questions the panel will explore are:
Who is a “leaker,” and who is a “whistleblower”?  When do leaks endanger our national security versus preserve our constitutional integrity?  Who can be prosecuted for disclosing information, when are such prosecutions appropriate and what are the implications for speech rights and the public’s right to know?  Is there a reporter's privilege under the First Amendment when a journalist receives an illegal leak of national security secrets, and, if so, what is its scope?  What limits, if any, should there be to the government’s subpoena power over journalists and a court’s power to hold them in contempt for refusing to disclose sources?
Please join The Constitution Project, the Georgetown Center on National Security and Law, and the Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier for a discussion of this controversial and timely subject.  Please note that the event will also be available live via webcast.
In addition to the panel, TCP will present its annual Constitutional Commentary Award to the authors of Top Secret America, Dana Priest and William Arkin. Washington Post reporter Dana Priest will be present to accept the award. 

University of Louisville's McConnell Center will host a Celebration of the U.S. Constitution from September 17-28, 2012

 

On the 9th Constitution Day President Washington made his farewell address

The Battle of Antietam

Of all the days on all the fields where American soldiers have fought, the most terrible by almost any measure was September 17, 1862. The battle waged on that date, close by Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg in western Maryland, took a human toll never exceeded on any other single day in the nation's history. So intense and sustained was the violence, a man recalled, that for a moment in his mind's eye the very landscape around him turned red.


Stephen W. Sears,
Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

 

 

Constitution Day 2011

In 1931 Justice Hugo Black wrote that the U.S. Constitution created “essential barriers against arbitrary or unjust deprivations of human rights.1  Seventy years later these constitutional barriers remain but a constitutional aspiration.  To date DNA testing has lead to the exoneration of 273 persons who served a cumulative 3549 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.  While wrongful convictions generate only muted shame within the citizenry, a handful of lawyers and scholars have thankfully devoted their careers to expansive research on this issue.

On Constitution Day 2011, Georgetown University Law Center will host a panel discussion profiling this research.  The panelists include:

  • Brandon Garrett, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, author of Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong
  • Jim Petro, Former Republican Attorney General of Ohio (2003-2007), and Nancy Petro, co-authors of False Justice: Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent
  • Jeffrey Rosen (moderator), Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic; Professor of Law, George Washington University

The panel discussion will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. 

The program can be viewed in its entirety at https://www.law.georgetown.edu/webcast/

1Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 445, 475 (1931) (Black, J., dissenting).

 

In addition to this program, UofL Law Professor JoAnne Sweeny offers some insight into the U.S. Constitution and the global trade of human rights.

The influence of the American Bill of Rights on the very notion of what rights are has been documented repeatedly by scholars. The Bill of Rights was the model for the UN Declaration of Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and countless other rights’ provisions in national constitutions and international human rights treaties.1 The socio-political rights such as freedom of speech, right to a fair trial and right to counsel have been enshrined in several other human rights instruments.
The United States has a lot to be proud of. Although the United States did not invent the concept of these rights, the Bill of Rights articulated them in a way that has had profound influence around the world. Many nations and international bodies still use Supreme Court decisions as persuasive authority when interpreting their own rights instruments.2
However, that transfer of the notion of rights has not really gone both ways. The United States has been extremely reluctant to look to other nations or international treaties to determine whether it should amend its vision of what rights should be bestowed upon its people. The closest parallel is the Supreme Court’s recent decision to look to other nations to determine whether a criminal punishment (invariably, the death penalty) constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment.3 The Supreme Court also looked to world trends in Lawrence v. Texas when determining whether a statute outlawing sodomy violated privacy rights.4
Despite these recent advances, American courts are still much more inward-looking than their international counterparts. As some scholars have noted, the Supreme Court, even when placing some emphasis on the laws of other nations, still places American public opinion first.5 Even the few times the Court has looked to international law, it has done so without a majority and with vociferous dissents decrying the use of non-American jurisprudence.6 Congress has also reacted negatively to the Court’s minor foray into “transjudicialism” – it proposed the American Justice for Americans Citizens Act in 2005, which would have prohibited any federal court, when interpreting the U.S. Constitution, from employing “the constitution, laws, administrative rules, executive orders, directives, policies, or judicial decisions of any international organization or foreign state, except for the English constitutional and common law or other sources of law relied upon by the Framers of the Constitution of the United States”.7 The Bill died in committee but its proposal says much about the disapproval of the Supreme Court’s recent willingness to look beyond American borders to enhance human rights protections.
This refusal to look to other nations is unfortunate, because we could learn much from the international community about the protection of human rights. Many countries and international instruments have gone beyond traditional socio-political rights to include economic and environmental rights.8 The right to education, the right to health care, and the right to a clean and healthy environment have been enshrined in human rights documents and enforced internationally for decades. Citizens of the nations of the Council of Europe, for example, are entitled to access to education under Protocol 2 of the ECHR. These rights have been enforced against member nations.9
Similarly, the right to be free from poverty has been actively pursued in South Africa and India.10 The right of indigenous peoples and the right to a clean environment have been guaranteed in the constitution of Argentina and enforced by Argentinean courts.11  Many commentators have lamented the United States’ ability to protect these economic and environmental rights in the United States through problems of self-execution and standing.12 Although environmental and educational rights are advanced in American statutes and state constitutions, the enforcement of these rights remains inconsistent and overly reliant upon citizen lawsuits. Perhaps if the U.S. were willing to look to other nations, we could find solutions to these problems and make our own guarantees of economic and environmental rights more meaningful.

1 Jacek Kurczewski & Barry Sullivan, The Bill of Right and Emerging Democracies, 65 L. & Contemp. Probs. 251, 253 (2002).
2 Anthony Lester, The Overseas Trade in the American Bill of Rights, 88 Colum. L. Rev. 537, 541 (1988).
3 Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551, 575-578 (2005) (execution of juveniles under the age of 18); Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 317 n.21 (2002) (execution of mentally retarded).
4 539 U.S. 558, 559-60, 572-573 (2003).
5 Yitzchok Segal, The Death Penalty and the Debate Over the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citation of Foreign and International Law, 33 Fordham Urb. L. J. 1421, 1431-32 (2006).
6 See, e.g., Atkins, 536 U.S. at 324 (Rehnquist, Scalia & Thomas, JJ., dissenting).
7 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h109-1658.
8 Sumudu Atapattu, The Right to a Healthy Life or the Right to Die Polluted?: The Emergence of a Human Right to a Healthy Environment Under International Law, 16 Tul. Envtl. L.J. 65 (2002); Sylvia Ewald, Student Author, State Court Adjudication of Environmental Rights: Lessons from the Adjudication of the Right to Education and the Right to Welfare, 36 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 413, 418 (2011). JOHN SCANLON ET AL., WATER AS A HUMAN RIGHT? 42-46 (2004) (listing the following nations whose constitutions recognize a general right to a healthy environment)
9 Colin Koons, Student Author, Education on the Home Front: Home Education in the European Union and the Need for Unified European Policy, 20 Ind. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 145, 156 (2010).
10 Elizabeth Pascal, Welfare Rights in State Constitutions, 39 Rutgers L.J. 863, 891 & n.174 (2008).
11 Robert V. Percival, The Globalization of Environmental Law, 26 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 451, 455 (2009)
12 Preston Carter, Student Author, “If an {Endangered) Tree Falls I the Forest, and No One is Around…”: Resolving the Divergence Between Standing Requirements and Congressional Intent in Environmental Legislation, 84 Notre Dame L. Rev. 2191, 2193-95 (2009). 

 

Read more about past Constitution Days at UofL Law

 

 

 

 

Constitution Day 2010

Barry Faulkner, The Constitution
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

United States Constitution, preamble



[W]e must never forget that it is a constitution we are expounding.

McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316, 407 (1819)



Constitution

The United States Constitution is not only the basic law of the United States. It has also inspired politicians, philosophers, and ordinary people around the world. Scholars have devoted intense attention to the Constitution, its interpretation by the Supreme Court of the United States, and its impact on the American people.

Constitutional law forms an important part of the Law School's curriculum and research agenda. University of Louisville faculty members have devoted considerable attention to the Constitution, its interpretation, and its social meaning. Lawyers with diverse practices and specializations share a background in constitutional law, which in turn unites the practicing bar in a common civil culture based on the Constitution and its role in American history and politics.

The Law School therefore takes great pride in presenting an annual commemoration of Constitution Day on behalf of the entire University of Louisville. The 2010 program consists of a collection of videos that provide commentary on recent developments in the Supreme Court of the United States and in lower federal courts. Jim Chen, Samuel Marcosson, Luke Milligan, Laura Rothstein and Joseph Tomain review a significant year of developments in American constitutional law.

2010 Constitution Day Program

  • Luke M. MIlligan, Introduction
  • Jim Chen, McDonald v. City of Chicago: The States and the 2nd Amendment
  • Samuel A. Marcosson, The California Same-Sex Marriage Case
  • Luke M. Milligan, City of Ontario v. Quon
  • Laura Rothstein, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez
  • Joseph A. Tomain, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

 

 

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The 2009 program consists of two video presentations. In the first video, Law School faculty discuss the appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Professors Laura Rothstein, Judith Fischer, Luke Milligan, Samuel Marcosson, and Cedric Merlin Powell and Dean Jim Chen, joined by Professor John McGinnis of the Northwestern University School of Law, ponder the significance of Justice Sotomayor's arrival on the nation's highest court. In the second video, Professor Joseph Tomain presents Fleeting Expletives and the Shadow of the First Amendment.

We invite other institutions, throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky and elsewhere, to link to this page and to use its resources in their efforts to commemorate Constitution Day. In addition, we invite students, graduates, and friends of the Law School and of the University of Louisville at large to treat this page as a standing guide to constitutional law. The resources section of this page includes a 21-question constitutional scavenger hunt and a photo gallery depicting constitutional controversies throughout American history.

Finally, we are pleased to provide archives of the Law School's Constitution Day programs from 2010, 2008 , and 2007.



Audio podcast — 


Laura Rothstein, The Brandeis and Sotomayor Confirmations

The summer 2009 confirmation process for Justice Sonia Sotomayor was not the first controversy over a Supreme Court justice, and it provides an opportunity to recall how Louis Brandeis, native of Louisville, Kentucky , was confirmed after a stormy process in the Senate. Brandeis, of course, became one of the most renowned justices of the Supreme Court.

Justice Sotomayor was the first Latina justice to be appointed, and Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish justice. Both were controversial for some of the same reasons.

On January 28, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to be a justice on the United States Supreme Court to replace Justice Joseph Lamar, who had died earlier that month. The nomination erupted into a four month battle fought within a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Although some assume that the controversy was because Brandeis was Jewish (and that may have been a factor for some), the major objection was because of his reputation as an activist and a progressive. Before the nomination, Brandeis had taken on a number of progressive causes, ranging from labor relations, government corruption and private misuse of "other people's money," monopoly practices, and the "right to privacy." He opposed big government and big business.

As an advocate before the Supreme Court, Brandeis wrote what became known as the "Brandeis Brief" in the case of Muller v. Oregon (1908), which argued for the constitutionality of an Oregon law limiting working hours for women. Brandeis's brief was the first time social science and economic research was used in a case before the Supreme Court. Not only did he win the case, but this technique was later adopted by the NAACP in its cases challenging the separate but equal doctrine in higher education and public schools, culminating in the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

It is not surprising that so many with vested interests were fearful of the potential impact on the Court of such an intelligent, articulate, and effective lawyer with strong progressive views.

Like the Sotomayor hearings (and other controversial hearings before hers), there was a great deal of behind-the-scenes maneuvering by supporters and opponents. The use of the media, even in a time without the internet and a 24/7 news cycle was significant. Some opponents argued that Brandeis lacked "judicial temperament." Clippings of many of the articles highlighting this controversy can be found in the law school's Brandeis Archives collection.

In spite of the opposition, Brandeis was approved by the Judiciary Committee (10-8 vote) on May 24, 1916, and confirmed by the full Senate on June 1 (47-22). He served on the Court until 1939, when he resigned at age 83, having served 23 years, and he died two years later in 1941. His remains are buried at the portico of the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, named in his honor in 1997. The law school also adopts his example of public service — he had become known as "The People's Attorney" because of his advocacy for social justice causes on a pro bono basis. In 1990, the law school implemented a public service program, requiring students to complete 30 hours of service before graduating. More recently, in 2008, the law school opened its clinic, continuing the Brandeis legacy of commitment to public service.

So, were the fears of Brandeis's opponents borne out? Did he set aside judicial restraint to reach an outcome that fit his biases and views? Even though he remained an effective guidepost on social policy issues through his opinions (including many dissents), he remained true to his principles of judicial restraint and deference to state and local legislative bodies as the source of public policy. He viewed the states as laboratories of democracy, free to experiment with public policy and he recognized that local circumstances may affect social policy in different states.

The best example of his deference to state law is the 1932 decision in New State Ice Company v. Liebmann. This decision, which was the focus of the Brandeis Medal lecture presented by Justice Stephen Breyer in 2004, involved a state regulation of ice companies that could result in monopolistic power, something that Brandeis strongly opposed. Although Brandeis might well have thought that Oklahoma 's regulatory scheme was bad policy, he nonetheless, dissented from the majority, which struck down the law. His 31-page dissent, which has been cited more than 1600 times in Supreme Court decision and innumerable times in law review articles, addressed the fact that the state may well have had good reasons to implement this regulation, and the Court should defer to the state when "economic regulation and ordinary social legislation is at issue." This dissent is one of many examples Brandeis of using opinions to educate the public about important issues.

Americans often have been surprised by the decisions some Supreme Court justices have reached after they have been appointed. Justice Brandeis remained true to his philosophy of judicial deference to the legislative process. Only time will tell whether we will be surprised by the decisions of our newest justice.


Judith D. Fischer, Remarks on Justice Sotomayor's Confirmation

The confirmation hearings raised the question of what kind of justice Sonia Sotomayor will be. I just published a study that revealed something interesting about her past opinions. The study examined the use of gender-inclusive language by ninety-six female and male federal appellate judges. I looked at several linguistic traits, including how judges handled "the pronoun problem."

In English, what grammarians call the "pronoun problem" arises when we use a third-person singular pronoun to refer to an unknown person. For example, we may say, "A lawyer should file his brief on time." An old rule-made up by Eighteenth Century grammarians-said the masculine "his" belongs in that sentence, even though it refers to an unknown lawyer who might be either male or female. Now that so many women are lawyers, it's a little jarring to read that a lawyer should file his brief on time. Because the generic masculine excludes half of the population, for the past forty years or so, many language scholars have recommended that writers avoid it. There are several ways to do that. One is to recast the sentence to avoid the pronoun altogether: "A lawyer should file a brief on time." Another is to use an inclusive pronoun pair: "A lawyer should file his or her brief on time."

One of my measures was judges' use of these pronoun pairs. In my sample, Justice Sotomayor, then a Second Circuit judge, ranked the very highest in the use of gender-neutral pronoun pairs. That suggests that she will be sensitive to framing her decisions in language that will be considerate of both women and men.

But will she be an "activist judge," as some critics said during the confirmation hearings? The very term "activist judge" is loaded. On its face, it appears to mean a judge who disregards precedent to reach whatever decision will fit his or her views. But the term is often used simply as a name to call a judge whose decisions displease the speaker.

One particular case illustrates the problems with inexact use of the term "activist judge." The Ricci case, a discrimination case out of New Haven , Connecticut , concerned a test administered to firefighters who wanted to be promoted. Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S. Ct. 2658 (2009). When white firefighters scored highest on the test, minority firefighters threatened to sue on the ground that the test was discriminatory. So New Haven postponed any promotions and announced that it would look for a fairer test. White and Hispanic firefighters who had scored high then sued, alleging discrimination against them. The District Court held for the city, citing then-current law, which said an employer could use race-neutral means to avoid an employment decision that had a disparate impact on a protected group. Ricci v. DeStefano, 554 F. Supp. 2d 142, 157 (D. Conn. 2006). The Second Circuit, on which Sonia Sotomayor then sat, issued a short per curiam opinion, upholding what it called the District Court's "thorough and well-reasoned opinion." Ricci v. DeStefano, 530 F.3d 87, 87 (2d Cir. 2008). In short, the court was not "activist" but simply followed the current law.

The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Second Circuit's decision, holding that the white and Hispanic firefighters did have a discrimination claim. 129 S. Ct. at 2681. Some said this showed that Justice Sotomayor had been wrong and was an activist judge. But on the contrary, it was the Supreme Court that announced a new rule, that an employer taking steps to avoid a disparate impact against a protected group must have "a strong basis in evidence to believe it will be subjected to disparate-impact liability if it fails to take race-conscious action." 129 S. Ct. at 2677. Thus the Supreme Court, not the Second Circuit, was being "activist" in changing the law.

There's nothing about the Ricci case or Justice Sotomayor's other decisions that suggests she will be some sort of "activist" extremist. On the contrary, I expect her to follow her past practices and be moderate, perhaps slightly left of center, on the court. In fact, I even predict I'll be disappointed when at least one of her decisions won't go as far as I'd like in upholding the civil rights of women or minorities.


Sam Marcosson, The Sotomayor Hearings: Where Angels Fear to Tread

Alexander Pope’s oft-quoted 1709 aphorism, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” is quite the warning to those who would dare candor in the face of the conventional wisdom of their age to say no more than the “safe” or the guarded answer. And so perhaps it should have come as no surprise that, like many before her who have been nominated to the Supreme Court in the last 20 years, then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit came before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this past summer for her confirmation hearings and said . . . little. Little that was instructive, illuminating, interesting, or helpful to the greater understanding of our Constitution or the Court’s role in interpreting it. Little that would teach us something about what we can actually expect from a Justice Sonia Sotomayor based on her record at the court of appeals. I come today neither to praise, nor to bury Justice Sotomayor – but to lament her performance at the confirmation hearings as the culmination of what they have become, and with only a faint hope that this may possibly represent the nadir of this trend.

Justice Sotomayor began with this seemingly innocuous attempt to reassure the Senate that she will exercise appropriate judicial restraint: "The task of a judge is not to make law. It is to apply the law.” Far from reassuring, though, the comment was a disturbing sign that Sotomayor was going to refrain from defending the perspective on judging that has marked her jurisprudence on the Second Circuit, and which should continue to guide her on the Supreme Court.

The fact is, of course, that of course Supreme Court Justices make law. Their decisions create the law of the Constitution that binds lower courts – and Presidents and legislators and all the rest of us. If Justice Sotomayor is not willing to use the occasion of her confirmation hearings – the one moment when she had more of the public spotlight than she is ever likely to have again – to make even that point, then it is unsurprising that she was not up for the project of defending the idea (made repeatedly in her past speeches) that it both inevitable and all to the good that judges should bring with them to the task of deciding cases their experience and their empathy. Nevertheless, I was disappointed when she spent most of the hearings accepting a mechanistic version of judging that created the impression that it is almost a robotic act in which the judge applies law to the facts and arrives at some objective conclusion. To hear Justice Sotomayor testify and answer questions, one would have thought there is little difference whether she or Chief Justice Roberts is going about the business of constitutional interpretation.

Perhaps the greater candor I yearn for would constitute an example of a fool rushing in. But I believe a nominee could explain that judging is a mix of the honest attempt to interpret the law as objectively as possible, while also understanding that each Justice bring to that task a mix of experiences, subjective views of the case and the litigants, and especially contrasting views about how to undertake the task of interpretation itself. That kind of honesty would, over time, lead to a greater understanding among the public about how the Court really interprets the Constitution, and how the Court itself functions at the apex of the judicial branch. The Sotomayor hearings did nothing to advance that cause.


Cedric Merlin Powell, Empathy and the "Wise Latina Woman"

Judge Sotomayor's confirmation as the 111th Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court was a landmark event — the first Latina and only the third woman to sit on the High Court — this seminal accomplishment is a true testament to the vibrancy of our political community and the triumph of inclusion.

The confirmation hearings were also a litmus test for colorblind constitutionalism. All of the United States Supreme Court's opinions on race have been reverse discrimination claims advanced by white plaintiffs who allege unfair treatment because race was used to exclude them. Ironically, Justice Sotomayor's hearings morphed into a reverse discrimination case against her, and she had to delicately navigate identity, race, and the power of judicial decision-making. Her "Wise Latina Woman' comment had to be neutralized. So, Justice Sotomayor had to assure the inquiring conservative Senators that her identity fit within the mainstream (and that she viewed alternative race-conscious perspectives skeptically); she had to consistently ignore her race and embrace the rhetoric of liberal individualism; and she had to adopt a stance of a neutral referee when she explained her approach to judicial decision-making. The public should know that judges make policy within the context and structure of the Constitution. There are structural limits in Articles I, II, and III of the Constitution.

The phrase, "Wise Latina Woman," was mischaracterized and the politicized confirmation hearings only served to further distort its meaning. Justice Sotomayor did not mean that she would judge in a particular way, adopting an outcome determinative approach to decision-making. Rather, empathy truly means that rights, obligations, and claims will be taken seriously. Beyond the principles and doctrines, there are real life issues with far reaching impact on the lives of countless Americans. A jurist should understand and feel the significance of the awesome power of decision-making. Alternative viewpoints should be included. Think of what would have happened if other perspectives had been included in infamous decisions like Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Buchanan v. Warley, and Buck v. Bell. Because there were no women or people of color on the bench when these decisions were handed down, they advanced a skewed and narrow view of our nation.

Alternative perspectives are essential to our constitutional democracy. Justice Sotomayor will soon add her voice to the Court's jurisprudential dialogue on race. We must dismantle deeply embedded systemic inequality. The Court's recent pronouncements on race in the school cases and the firefighters case serve as stark reminders that colorblind constitutionalism does not address the structural nature of race and inequality.

It is impossible to predict where Justice Sotomayor's jurisprudential path will take her, but I am sure that she will approach her duties with empathy, courage, and a commitment to justice. There is power in inclusion.



2. Joseph Tomain, Fleeting Expletives and the Shadow of the First Amendment




Audio podcast — 


Resources on the United States Constitution

2008 Archive

2007 Archive


»  Click here to download the archived webcast  «


Constitution Day 2007


2007 Photo Gallery Archive

Editor's Note

This page is composed in compliance with section 111 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, Pub. L. No. 108-447, § 111, 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45 (2004), more colloquially known as the "Constitution Day" statute. See also Notice of Implementation of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17 of Each Year, 70 Fed. Reg. 29,727 (May 24, 2005).

Section 111 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act states in relevant part: "Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution." Section 111 further requires that Constitution Day be commemorated on September 17, in honor of the day in 1787 on which the Constitution was signed. In a year in which September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, Constitution Day may be commemorated during the preceding or following week.