By: Meg Rowley
Constitution Day will be celebrated at Siena College on September 23rd. The celebration will be held during free period on Wednesday the 23rd in the Sarazen Student Union in room 243. Anyone interested in attending, including Siena students, faculty, staff members and people in the local community, are all urged to come to this free event.
Constitution Day is a federally mandated event, which requires all educational institutions to provide education on the United States constitution. The Constitution was signed on September the 18th, causing Constitution Day to between mid to late September. The holiday was created five years ago in 2004 by Senator Robert Byrd. The law that created Constitution Day is very general and flexible in nature, which allows each educational institution to decide how they will celebrate the day. However, the fundamental goal remains the same, to bring awareness and attention to the United States Constitution and its monumental impact on this nation.
Dr. Leonard Cutler, professor of political science, pre-law advisor, and director for the center for the study of Government and politics at Siena College; shed some light on the events that will take place during Constitution Day here at Siena. “Here at Siena, we focus on a keynote address by a scholar that speaks on a issue that is related to a topic that deals with the Constitution.” Cutler says.
The speakers that have talked in the past have been highly renowned scholars. Some of the speakers have included; Adam Liptak, the Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times, who gave a speech about National Security, entitled; “Liberty Versus Security: The Supreme Court in the Age of Terror.” Professor Paul Finkelman of the Albany law school presented a speech at Siena on Constitution Day entitled, “Making a Covenant with Death: Understanding the Pro-Slavery Constitution.”
This year the speaker at Constitution Day is Associate Professor at Albany Law School, Stephen Clark. Clark graduated from Yale Law School. Part of his accomplishment and credentials include; staff assistant to Senator Al Gore in 1992; Notes editor of Yale Law & Policy Review; a fellow of the ACLU in Illinois; visiting Asst. Professor at Toledo College of Law.
Clark’s presentation is entitled, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Constitution: The Tension Between Law and Statesmanship.” Clark’s speech promises to be very interesting due to his passionate stance on the issue of same-sex marriage. Clark has openly expressed his support of same-sex marriages. He currently is the blog-editor of the site, “Same-Sex Unions in the Conflict of Laws.”
In an e-mail, Clark reports on his efforts to legalize same-sex marriages. “[He] represented 130 New York law professors as ‘amici curiae’ in New York Court of Appeals in support of unsuccessful challengers to state ban on same-sex marriages.” He states he currently is concerned with efforts to secure recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and elsewhere.
Clark has homes in Albany and Washington. He has been with his partner for 14 years. They are registered partners under the law of Hawaii since 1998.
Clark’s presentation will be roughly 45 minutes with a 15 minute question and answer period following his talk. It is assured that that it will be a lively, fascinating presentation.