AFA of PA ACTION ALERT
September 13, 2023
What is Your Local School Doing on Constitution Day?
Deep inside the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Bill, which would become Public Law 108-447, we find this verbiage:
SEC. 111. (a) The head of each Federal agency or department shall-
- (1) provide each new employee of the agency or department with educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution as part of the orientation materials provided to the new employee; and
- (2) provide educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution to each employee of the agency or department on September 17 of each year.
- (b) Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.
A little history:
The United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. This was our second attempt at a national governing document. The 1777 Articles of Confederation, which went into effect in 1781, quickly proved to be inadequate. In 1786 the Annapolis Convention called for a group to assemble to address the many weaknesses.
After months of sometimes contentious debate, the Constitution was introduced to the citizens of the new nation. Did you know that many of the delegates involved in the writing of the Constitution were trained in theology or ministry? Abraham Baldwin, James Wilson, Hugh Williamson, Oliver Ellsworth are a few examples. The Constitution was then sent to the states for ratification. Among the delegates selected, the states elected about four dozen clergymen to serve in the ratification process for the Constitution.
U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge stated in 1919:
“The United States is THE WORLD’S BEST HOPE…
Beware how you trifle with your marvelous inheritance … for if we stumble & fall, freedom & civilization everywhere will go down in ruin.”
The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the Constitution’s age is a mark against it. Asked in a 2012 interview whether Egypt’s new government should look to other constitutions for guidance, Ginsburg replied, “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the Constitution of South Africa.”
She added that Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms might also be a good place to start, as it is “much more recent than the U.S. Constitution. … It dates from 1982.”
Former 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner wrote in an op-ed for Slate that he “[sees] absolutely no value to … studying the Constitution.” His reasoning: “Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century.”
When Constitution Day falls on a weekend, as it does this year, schools observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday. So, what is your local school planning for Constitution Day?
Take time to read the US Constitution over the weekend. It is not a long document and if Congress would simply adhere to it and judges would read it, we would not see our freedoms being eroded as they are today!