Constitution Day

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Category: Constitutional Interpretation, Federal Law & Legal System, Higher Education, Marquette Law School
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imagesSome portions of the Constitution are the subject of frequent discussion. Concepts like “due process,” “equal protection,” “freedom of speech,” and the like are headline-grabbers. Phrases like “Commerce … among the several States” do not resonate quite as much with the general public, but are certainly familiar to lawyers.

A glance at the Constitution reveals that there is much more to the document, some of it mysterious. There is, for example, talk of “Emoluments,” “Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” and “Corruption of Blood.” Indeed, large portions of the Constitution make at best infrequent appearances in public discourse. There is, one might say, an Overlooked Constitution.

The Overlooked Constitution will be the theme of our Constitution Day observation at the law school this year. As most are probably aware, in 2004 Senator Robert Byrd introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill that, when ultimately enacted, required all educational institutions receiving federal funds to hold educational programs relating to the Constitution on September 17 (which is the date on which, in 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution at their final meeting).

In accordance with this mandate, four panelists will present brief talks concerning provisions in the Constitution that are infrequently discussed. The speakers and their topics are as follows:

Professor Stephen Engel, Marquette Department of Political Science: The Membership of Congress clause of Article 1, Section 5.

Professor Ed Fallone, Marquette Law School: The “Republican Form of Government” clause of Article 4, Section 4.

Professor Nora O’Callaghan, Marquette Law School: The Forgotten Thirteenth Amendment.

Professor Stephen Vladeck, American University Law School: The “Calling Forth” clause” of Article I, Section 8. Lunch will be provided. More information here .

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One Response to “Constitution Day”

  1. On this topic of the Overlooked Constitution, I for one would quite like to hear future presentations about such Art. I pearls as
    1. the prohibition against granting Titles of Nobility,
    2. the promotion of the “Useful” Arts (this clause has stung this liberal arts major a bit), and
    3. the definition and punishment of Piracies and Felonies Committed on the High Seas, and of Offenses against the Laws of Nations (esp. given the late attacks by Somali pirates).

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