Saturday, September 17, 2011

Constitution Day 2011

It's Constitution Day - September 17 - and federal law mandates that

Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution

Eleventh Amendment Department of Education regulations provide that the law

requires that Constitution Day be held on September 17 of each year, commemorating the September 17, 1787 signing of the Constitution. However, when September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, Constitution Day shall be held during the preceding or following week.

 Today (or next week) might be a good time to discuss the relationship of the Constitution's text and its interpretation, especially given the popular rhetoric concerning "strict constructionism." A possible prompt might be the Eleventh Amendment:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State. 

In divided opinions, the Court has repeatedly stated it will not engage in "blind reliance" upon the text of the Constitution regarding the Amendment, see e.g., Alden v. Maine (1999).

RR
[image: Eleventh Amendment via National Archives]

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