Sept. 17, 2010 marks the sixth annual Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787. Constitution Day was established in 2004 when Senator Robert Byrd attached an amendment to the Omnibus Spending bill requiring all educational institutions receiving any form of federal aid to establish a program educating students on the Constitution.
While the holiday may appear trivial, the need for greater education of the constitution is a legitimate concern, considering a surprising amount of Americans know very little about the constitution. Surveys conducted in 1987, the 200 anniversary of the signing of the constitution, revealed that nearly half of those questioned thought that the constitution established English as the national language, that the President alone could appoint a Supreme Court Justice, and that the constitution guarantees a public education.
Fortunately, educational institutions such as Case Western have made a serious commitment to informing students about the constitution, and its importance in relation to political and social problems.
A student committee was formed last year to discuss possible topics for this year’s constitution day, and the consensus was to showcase a debate regarding the constitutionality of the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordability Act, also known as the health care bill. The event is entitled “State Uprising: The Constitutionality of Health Care Reform,” and features Richard Corday, the Attorney General of Ohio, and Thomas Fisher, the Solicitor General of Indiana. Both Corday and Fisher with represent their states view on the new health care bill, with Corday defending the constitutionality of the bill, and Fisher opposing the new legislation (Indiana is one of twenty states filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bill).
Corday and Fisher to will each present their arguments and defend their positions, followed by questions posed by a student panel. The event is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Case Law School’s moot court room from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The program is a continuation of Case’s annual constitution day events.