In 2004, Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) sponsored legislation that designated September 17 as “Constitution Day.” September 17 is the anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.
All educational institutions that receive federal funding are expected to observe Constitution Day in some way. Since 2005, when Constitution Day was first observed, Winthrop University has hosted speeches by prominent scholars such as Harold Jaffe of Claremont Colleges and Dr. Timothy Boylan of Winthrop University, and through special library displays commemorating some aspect of the Constitution.
Beginning in 2009, the West Forum assumed responsibility for Winthrop University’s commemoration of Constitution Day. The West Forum has sponsored the following Constitution Day commemorative events:
What are the Limits of Free Speech?
Mr Stephen Cox, attorney at law, will discuss the limitations of free speech. In particular Mr Cox will focus on the limits that national security imposes on free speech and the government's right to limit "offensive speech." The event will take place on Thursday, September 19, 2013.
Why the Electoral College is Bad for America
Dr. George C. Edwards III, University Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University, and renowned scholar of the US Presidency, discussed his recent book, Why the Electoral College is Bad for America. (2011 Yale University Press). He spoke on Thursday, September 13, 2012.
The Second Amendment: Heller and Beyond
The West Forum hosted Ms. Suzanne Anglewicz, attorney for the National Rifle Association, as its 2011 Constitution Day Speaker on Friday, September 16, 2011. Ms. Anglewicz spoke on the importance of recent Supreme Court cases and their relevance to the Second Amendment.
The 26th Amendment and Young Adults' Political Participation
Dr. Bobby Gentry, a 2004 Winthrop Graduate and assistant professor of political science at Milliken University was Winthrop University's 2010 Constitution Day speaker. Gentry is an expert on youth voting and political engagement.
The First Amendment and the Religious Clauses
Heather L. Weaver, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union Religion and Belief Program in Washington, DC, discussed the historical development of the religious freedom clauses of the First Amendment.
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia provides numerous resources for educators who are planning their own Constitution Day Celebrations.