Constitution Day: The Constitution and the War on Terror

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Monday, September 18, 2006

The Program in Public Law at Duke Law School will hold a public forum Monday, Sept. 18, titled “Constitution Day: The Constitution and the War on Terror.”

Constitution Day celebrates the birthday of, and encourages learning about, the U.S. Constitution. On Sept. 17, 1787, 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting to sign the Constitution.

The forum will feature presentations by Duke law professors Christopher Schroeder, H. Jefferson Powell and Scott Silliman. The event, free and open to the public, will begin at 12:15 p.m. in room 3041 at Duke Law School, located at the corner of Towerview Road and Science Drive on Duke’s West Campus.

“In our constitutional democracy, the government has been intentionally structured to protect individual rights and to make unilateral actions by any individual department of government difficult,” said Schroeder, who directs the Program in Public Law. “In times of external threat, these features can be perceived as standing in the way of a vigorous defense of the country, and pressure can mount to avoid them. This Constitution Day forum will assess how the ‘War on Terror’ has affected our underlying constitutional values in the five years since Sept. 11, 2001.”

Schroeder, Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies, has published extensively on democratic theory, legislative institutions and the separation of powers. During the Clinton administration, he served as acting assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel.

Powell is an expert on constitutional law, history and foreign policy, and served as principal deputy solicitor general during the Clinton administration.

Silliman, director of Duke’s Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, is a former judge advocate and specialist in national security and military law. He recently testified before the Senate Judiciary and Armed Services Committees on the future of military commissions in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

Beginning at 12:10 p.m., a live webcast of the event will be available at