Constitution Day-2021

September 13, 2021

SIU law school to hold discussion on recent constitutional issues

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A discussion on recent and pending constitutional decisions before the U.S. Supreme Court are a part of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Constitution Day activities this week.

The SIU School of Law will livestream the two-hour discussion beginning at 12:15 pm on Friday, Sept. 17. The topics will focus on myriad issues, including reproductive rights, immigrant rights, the Second Amendment right to bear arms, Fourth Amendment rights, and sexual orientation and identity rights.

The livestream will be available on the Chancellor’s YouTube channel.

Only members of the SIU law school community will be able to attend the presentation in person in the law school’s auditorium and masks are required. However, the livestream will be available to the general public.

Constitution Day is Friday, Sept. 17. The day marks the anniversary of delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completing and signing the U.S. Constitution in 1787. All educational institutions that receive federal funding must annually deliver programs on the U.S. Constitution. 

Jennifer Brobst, law school associate professor, said six law student organizations each proposed a case decided or pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and selected an SIU faculty member to present the case for discussion.

The array of cases that will be discussed are “diverse and compelling,” she said.

The topics, with presenters, are:

  • Reproductive rights: Camille Davidson, dean, SIU School of Law.
  • Immigrant rights: Cindy Buys, professor, SIU School of Law.
  • Second Amendment rights: Chris Behan, professor, SIU School of Law.
  • Fourth Amendment rights: Benjamin Bricker, associate professor, political science.
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity rights: Cheryl Anderson, SIU School of Law.

Morris Library’s Special Collections to feature late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon papers

In addition to the panel discussion, Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center will have a small exhibit titled “Filling the Gaps,” focused on the late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon’s efforts to fill a gap in the Presidential Succession Act.

Walter Ray, the library’s political papers archivist, said the exhibit at the entrance to the Special Collections Research Center showcases a few documents from the time Simon was chair of the subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign prompted everyone to review presidential election law, Ray said.

“One of the questions that came up was, ‘What happens if a President-elect dies between the election and the inauguration’?” Ray said, noting the Presidential Succession Act doesn’t address the issue.

Simon had his staff research the problem and draft a bill to address it. “Unfortunately, the proposed legislation died in committee,” Ray added.

“The exhibit provides a behind-the-scenes window on the legislative process on a matter that involves a constitutional question,” he said.