September 12, 2005

Events to mark Constitution Day

by Paula Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is hosting three separate activities in September to further the community's understanding of and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution.

Constitution Day is Saturday, Sept. 17. That was the date in 1787 that delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completed and signed the Constitution. The oldest written constitution of any nation the world over, the American Constitution embodies the ideas on which our country is founded — commitments to the rule of law, limited government and the ideals of liberty, equality and justice.

All events are free and open to the public.

The schedule:

• Friday, Sept 16: A two-part video examining the basic tenets and evolution of the Constitution will screen throughout the day in the University Museum Auditorium in Faner Hall. Part I will begin on odd-numbered hours of 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Part II will air at the top of even-numbered hours of 10 a.m. noon and 2 p.m.

A round-table discussion will tie things up from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Participants will include SIUC political and social scientists David Kenney, John L. Jackson, Larry A. Hickman, Albert P. Melone, Scott A. Comparato and Roudy W. Hildreth. Robert L. Clinton will moderate. University Museum Auditorium.

• 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19: John C. Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institution of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, will deliver the address "The Twelve Tribes: Religion and Politics in the 2004 Campaign." Student Center Auditorium. Green's talk is part of the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture Series.

• Noon, Friday, Sept. 23: Political scientist Robert L. Clinton, chair of the SIUC political science department, will deliver a presentation detailing his work on the Marshall Supreme Court, Faner Hall, room 3075 — enter building through door 4 and go up to the third floor, continue through the double doors, turn right and it's the fourth door on the left.

All educational institutions funded with federal money must annually deliver programs on the U.S. Constitution in September.

The political science department, The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, The Center for Dewey Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and the Office of the Provost are sponsoring the events.

In addition, the College of Education and Human Services is offering the following activities on Friday, Sept. 16, in Wham, room 219:

  • Noon: U.S. Supreme Court justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer talk about the Constitution with high school students at the Supreme Court.
  • 1:30 p.m.: National Public Radio's Magot Adler hosts an hour-long special videocast from the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. The debate, "Free Speech in the Digital Age," looks at censorship in libraries, textbooks and on the Internet.

The law school also has plans in place for Friday observances of Constitution Day.

The law library will have a prominent display regarding the U.S. Constitution in the display case on the first floor.

Starting at 9 a.m. and running continuously throughout the day, several videos will be shown in the law school's auditorium.

Series 1: "We The People -- The President and the Constitution." The series was produced by the Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution.

  • Tape 1 -- President Nixon discusses the 1973 Arab-Israeli Conflict, the Vietnam War, covert operations, Congress, and the media.
  • Tape 2 -- President Jimmy Carter discusses the Iranian hostage crisis, the Camp David Accords, Congress, and the Imperial Presidency.
  • Tape 3 -- President Gerald Ford discusses problems of Congress, the Nixon pardon and the Mayaguez crisis.
  • Tape 4 -- President Ronald Reagan discusses the Granada invasion, gun control, Congress, and the budget and line-item vetoes.

Series 2: "History of the Supreme Court." These tapes are 30-minute lectures taught by Peter Irons of the University of California at San Diego. They take a historical look at the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and include discussions of the Dred Scott case, the Warren Court, court packing and Constitutional revolution, the Civil War amendments, and ratification of the Bill of Rights.

Providing educational outreach is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the long-range plan the University is following as it nears its 150th anniversary in 2019.