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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Constitution Day unconstitutional?

Some lawyers, including one of my colleagues, point out the irony that the new law requiring all schools and colleges to observe yesterday’s Constitution Day may be unconstitutional. (Techically, it’s not “all schools and colleges” — just those receiving federal dollars. But effectively that’s all of them.) Since yesterday was a Saturday, some schools observed it on Friday and others will do so on Monday. Perhaps some of them will pick the most appropriate way to recognize the Constitution: encouraging students and librarians to exercise their First Amendment rights.

There is an interesting article on the subject in Inside Higher Ed:
Edward Rubin, the law dean at Vanderbilt [University], is anything but muted on the topic. “I’m surprised that the Congress and the president would choose to honor the Constitution by violating it,” Rubin said. “Nothing could be further from the meaning of the Constitution than compelling speech about a particular topic at a particular time.”

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