September 12, 2013

Debate, lecture highlight Constitution Day events

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A debate on benefits of the Second Amendment and a discussion on freedom, technology and civil liberties will highlight activities next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale that focus on the nation’s Constitution.

Constitution Day is Tuesday, Sept. 17.  The day marks the 226th 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 Second Amendment benefits outweigh the cost.  The event is set for 3:30 p.m., Sept. 17, in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.

The debate will feature Ben Campbell, a senior in political science from Springfield, Mo., and Josh Rivera, a junior in political science from Chicago.  Campbell, a two-time semifinalist at the national parliamentary debate championships will argue in the affirmative; Rivera, his debate partner this year and the reigning national debating champion, will argue opposing the resolution.

At 5 p.m., author and editor Roger K. Newman will discuss freedom, technology and its impact on the Constitution during a lecture at the SIU School of Law Hiram H. Lesar Law Building courtroom.  Newman’s 1994 biography of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black won the Scribes Book Award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.  Newman is also editor of the “Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law” and a four-volume encyclopedia, “The Constitution and Its Amendments.”

Newman has appeared on C-SPAN, PBS, and National Public Radio, and he has taught at Hofstra University’s Deane School of Law, New York University, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  He is currently working on a book on the last 40 years of the U.S. Supreme Court.