Constitution Day

President George W. Bush signed a bill on December 8, 2004 (Public Law 108-447) that designates every September 17 as Constitution Day. All institutions of higher education that receive federal funding are required to prepare a program to inform students about the U.S. Constitution.

2017 Constitution Day Events

To mark the day in 2017, a number of talks and presentations will take place on the UW campus. All events are free and open to the public.

Panel Discussion

James Madison and the Constitutional Legacy

Noon–1:30 p.m., Friday, September 15
Harrison Parlor Room, Lathrop Hall

Jack Rakove, William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies, Stanford University
Lynn Uzzell, Adjunct in the Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Jeremy D. Bailey, Professor of Political Science, University of Houston
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy

Constitution Day Lecture

"Conflict, Institutions, and Public Law: Reflections on Twentieth Century America as a Developing Country"

Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Supreme Court of California
Noon–1:15 p.m., Monday, September 18
Lubar Commons, 7200 Law School

During the early 20th century the United States struggled with intense labor conflict, unstable institutions, geographic fragmentation, and economic uncertainty and dislocation. These difficulties form a backdrop for major questions of constitutional structure and statutory implementation arising between roughly 1918 and the aftermath of World War II. Substantively, these questions implicated labor regulation, federal control of industry, and social insurance. In terms of legal doctrine and process, they encompassed separation of powers, federalism, and administrative procedure. As the country's legal arrangements evolved in these areas, institutional changes rooted in both law and politics facilitated growth in state capacity and greater channeling of disputes into courts and agencies. By reflecting on the larger context of societal conflict and institutional change playing out at the time, we can better understand the constitutional and statutory changes occurring during the evolution of the United States into a geopolitical power, as well as its subsequent struggles over civil rights and its continuing challenges in adapting its institutions to changing conditions while preserving their integrity.

Constitutional Law Class

Guests are invited to observe the following constitutional law class:

Constitutional Law ⅠI with Professor Heinz Klug

10:30–11:50 a.m., Monday, September 18
Room 5246, UW Law School

This course is designed to enable students to understand the rights contained in the Bill of Rights by adopting a comparative approach to explore the jurisprudence of constitutional rights. The course uses four jurisdictions, the United States, Canada, Australia and South Africa to compare how these different constitutional systems protect and interpret the rights enshrined in their constitutions and law.

Constitution of the United States

Produced by the National Archives and Records Administration, this site includes a transcript of the Constitution, images of the original document and other facts and background information.

Teaching with Documents: Observing Constitution Day

Also produced by the National Archives and Records Administration, this site offers activities, lesson plans and other information for teachers and students at all levels.

National Constitution Center: Constitution Day

This site is produced by the National Constitution Center, and provides more information about Constitution Day along with activities, lesson plans and other resources.