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Constitution Day Program to Feature Debate on Issues Raised in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

September 09, 2010 – 
“Resolved: Political speech by private, for-profit corporations should receive a comparable level of First Amendment protection to political speech by individuals.”

On September 22, 2010, a panel of legal experts including faculty from Rutgers School of Law–Newark will debate that question as part of the Constitution Day program at Rutgers University in Newark. They will present both sides of the issue, which was raised in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and which resulted in a landmark ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2010, when the court decided in the affirmative.

The program, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 4 – 6 pm in the Rutgers Center for Law and Justice, 123 Washington St., in the Baker Trial Courtroom. The first 100 attendees will receive a free copy of the U.S. Constitution in honor of the 223nd anniversary of the document’s signing.

“It is important to celebrate the Constitution because many students don’t appreciate the historical importance of the Constitution as the foundation for democratic rights, not only for the past but for the future as well,” states Vice Chancellor Marcia Brown, coordinator of the event.

Two debaters will argue for the affirmative: Vice Dean and Clinical Professor Ronald K. Chen and Michael W. Macleod-Ball, chief legislative and policy counsel, American Civil Liberties Union. Arguing for the negative are Professors Frank Askin and James Gray Pope. The debate will be moderated by Professor Bernard W. Bell. An audience Q & A will follow; refreshments will be served.  

This is Rutgers–Newark’s sixth annual program marking Constitution Day, an American federal observance that recognizes the completion of the drafting of the United States Constitution in 1787. 

For more information: Carla Capizzi, 973/353-5263, or email: capizzi@rutgers.edu.