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University celebrates U.S. Constitution

September 14, 2006

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Recognize these words? They comprise the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. And the Constitution formally established our United States of America when nine of the 13 colonies ratified the document in 1788.

In 2004, Congress declared that Sept. 17 – the day that delegates to the constitutional convention signed the document – would be celebrated as Constitution Day every year.

To mark that day, ASU Libraries and the Ross-Blakley Law Library will sponsor an afternoon of events celebrating Constitution Day from 1-5 p.m., Sept. 15, in Old Main's Carson Ballroom on the Tempe campus.

The afternoon will begin at 1 p.m. with opening remarks.

The program is as follows:

• 1:15 – 2 p.m.: Lecture by Catherine O'Grady, professor of law and executive director of the clinical program in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, “The Constitution in Action: Review and Preview of Constitutional Supreme Court Cases.”

• 2-2:15 p.m.: Break with refreshments and displays of Constitution-related library materials.

• 1:15-3 p.m.: Lecture by Catherine Kaplan, assistant professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, “Rebirth of a Nation: Origins and Ratification of the Constitution.”

• 3-3:15 p.m.: Break with refreshments and displays of Constitution-related library materials.

• 3:15-4 p.m.: Lecture by Joseph Russomanno, associate professor of journalism in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, “Watchdogs or Lapdogs? The Role of a Free Press and the First Amendment.”

• 4-4:15 p.m.: Closing remarks.

ASU Libraries will provide video streaming of the celebration, about a week after the event, through the Library Channel ( for those who are unable to attend.

The average U.S. citizen probably doesn't give much thought to the Constitution. But this document, which is the foundation for our government, is one of the most enduring in history.

According to the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration, the U.S. Constitution has been copied extensively throughout the world, and the United States has the oldest written Constitution of any nation on Earth.

For more: A constitutional Q & A

Judith Smith,

(480) 965-4821