Cal State Fullerton News Politics

CSUF spotlights Constitution Day

  • Constitution Day, celebrated Sept. 17, celebrates the adoption of the Constitution, which defines the U.S. government’s powers and ensures democracy. Originally posted in Wednesday’s Daily Titan.
National Archives rotunda in Washington, D.C. Such an amazing place. (Photo: Wikipedia Commons)

A Constitution Day panel put on by Cal State Fullerton’s Division of Politics, Administration and Justice is to be held at the Becker Amphitheater Thursday, Sept. 13.

The panel, “Contemporary Challenges and the U.S. Constitution,” will be from noon to 1 p.m. Along with a voter registration booth, there will be three short discussions on issues relating to the Constitution and the 2012 presidential election, followed by a question and answer session.

“The Constitution, even though it’s over 200 years old, still remains as the center of American politics, it’s still incredibly relevant,” said Scott Spitzer, assistant political science professor, who is moderating the event.

The Constitution Day panel will examine these contemporary topics. The discussions include the “U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)” by Pam Fiber-Ostrow, Ph.D., an associate political science professor; “U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision on SB 1070 (Arizona’s controversial immigration law)” by Robert Castro, Ph.D., an associate political science professor; and “The 2012 Elections and the Constitution” by Matthew Jarvis, Ph.D, also an assistant political science professor.

Constitution Day celebrates the adoption of the Constitution as well as those who have become U.S. citizens. It is celebrated annually Sept. 17, the day in 1787 when the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution.

“I want students to understand first of all the Constitution is the rules of the game, how many players can be on the field at any given moment, what are their positions, and what are they allowed to do when they’re on the field,” said Fiber-Ostrow, who will speak about Obamacare.

For example, she said Article I of the Constitution, which deals with Congress’ power and limitations and defines Congress as a bicameral legislature with a lower House of Representatives and a higher Senate, remains relevant.

“I think it’s extremely important for students to understand the difference between whether or not Congress has the power, and whether or not they should be doing something,” Fiber-Ostrow said.

Associated Students Inc., who is co-sponsoring the event along with the Office of Government Relations and the Division of Politics, Administration and Justice, will have a voter mobilization before the panel. Beginning at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, students can register to vote and get voter materials, Spitzer said.

The event will have free refreshments and Constitution booklets that include the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, said Frances Teves, director of state relations and advocacy for the Office of Government Relations.

CSUF’s keynote Constitution Day event, focusing on the effects of capital punishment, will examine Proposition 34 and the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. The panel, “The Cost of Death: Is the price of capital punishment worth the consequences?” will be Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Titan Student Union pavilions.

One of the event’s speakers, Gil Garcetti, a former Los Angeles district attorney, authored Proposition 34. The proposition, up on the November ballot, will eliminate the death penalty in California and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Spitzer, who puts the Preamble and the idea of separation of powers as his favorite parts of the Constitution, said the Constitution is “universally revered” among politicians and still remains at the forefront in American politics.

“Everybody kind of agrees that this is our amazing blueprint for government and it’s working,” he said.

-Tim Worden


The Constitution also…

  • Creates a separation of powers between three branches: Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
  • Begins with the preamble: “We the people, of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.”
  • Has 27 amendments. The first amendment includes freedom of speech and religion.

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