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Sherry Knighton-Schwandt
Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Last modified: Thursday, September 14, 2006

Panel discussion and town hall meeting to commemorate Constitution Day at IU

Sept. 14, 2006

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington faculty will observe Constitution Day on Monday (Sept. 18) with two events.

Constitution image

The U.S. Constitution

Print-Quality Photo

The day's commemoration of the U.S. Constitution will begin in the Moot Court Room at the IU School of Law-Bloomington, which will host a free and fair exchange of ideas on several major issues in constitutional law. The second event, sponsored by the IU School of Education, will be a town hall meeting during which participants which will address the topic, "Domestic Spying: What are the Checks on Presidential Power?" Both events are free and open to the public.

In the Moot Court Room from noon to 1:15 p.m., a panel of IUB law faculty will explore new developments in constitutional law and national security, and the tensions that exist between the government's obligations to protect both security and individual rights. Two recent cases and an American Bar Association report will provide the backdrop for the discussion, which will focus on the issues of national security, separation of powers and civil liberties.

Professor of Law and Harry T. Ice Faculty Fellow David Fidler, the panel's organizer, will be joined by Dawn Johnsen, professor of law and Ira C. Batman Faculty Fellow, and Fred Cate, Distinguished Professor of law and director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. The panelists will open the session with brief remarks on the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, the ABA Signing Statements Report and the ACLU v. NSA case.

"The country's war on terrorism treads new ground on issues about separation of power, military tribunals and international relations that challenge our thinking about established laws," said Fidler. "Constitution Day is an opportune time to raise important questions about the larger implications of these cases that are critical to the life of the country."

Sponsors of the event include the IU Office of the Provost, the IU School of Law-Bloomington and the American Constitution Society.

The Town Hall meeting to discuss checks on presidential power will begin at 7 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, which is located at 275 N. Jordan Ave. in Bloomington. Sponsored by the IU Dean of Faculties Office and the IUB School of Education, the panel will be moderated by education professor Terry Mason. Other experts presenting on the topic include Fred Cate, distinguished professor of law and director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research, and Norman Furniss, professor of political science and West European studies.

"By the Bush Administration authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists within the United States without obtaining court approval, significant questions have been raised about how far government can go to track terrorists and whether our civil liberties are on a downward spiral with executive power," said Paulette Dilworth, an assistant professor at the IUB School of Education. "This forum will help highlight issues that greatly concern many of us. We hope everyone attending will see the importance of asking questions to gain a clearer understanding of our government's actions."

Constitution Day, established by law in 2004 and formerly known as Citizenship Day, commemorates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It is officially observed on Sept. 17, the day on which the Constitutional Convention signed the document in 1787. The law mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the Constitution. In May 2005, the U.S. Department of Education announced the enactment of this law, which applies to any school receiving federal funds of any kind. When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions unofficially observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday.