September 12, 2014

Constitution Day events feature debate, lectures

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A debate on Fourth Amendment protections and a review and preview of selected U.S. Supreme Court cases are among the activities next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale that focus on the nation’s Constitution. 

In addition, a lecture will examine the challenges ahead for legislation that would modify existing legislation for the “Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act,” which was introduced in 2013. 

Constitution Day is Wednesday, Sept. 17.  The day marks the 227th anniversary of delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completing and signing the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. 

The events are free and open to the public.  All educational institutions that receive federal funding must annually deliver programs on the U.S. Constitution. 

A demonstration debate featuring two members of SIU’s defending national champion debate team will examine whether electronic communications and data should be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures. The event is at 7 p.m., Sept. 17, in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. 

The debate will feature Josh Rivera, a senior in political science and Zach Schneider, a senior in computer science. The SIU team is the two-time defending national champion after winning the Parliamentary Debate Association national title in March; the first time in the tournament’s 21-year history a university has back-to-back champions. 

At 4 p.m., faculty in the SIU School of Law and Department of Political Science and three law school students will review some of the cases argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2013 term and preview several cases scheduled for the 2014 term.  The topics include campaign finance, reasonableness of cell phone searches, presidential power to make recess appointments, prison grooming policies and religious practices, racial gerrymandering, and the scope of the president’s foreign affairs power.  The event is in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Room 102.  A list of the presenters and topics is available at

Also at 7 p.m., Patti Derge Simon, and John Oldfield, CEO of WASH Advocates, a nonprofit, nonpartisan initiative dedicated to helping solve the world’s drinking water, sanitation and hygiene challenges, will present a lecture that looks at avoiding a global water crisis. The event is in Student Center Ballroom B. Simon is the wife of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, founder of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which is sponsoring the event.