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Constitution Week kicks off mid-September

By Staff | Aug 26, 2011

The Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies will host two nationally-known speakers in September to celebrate Constitution Day, which was established in 2005 through the leadership of Senator Robert C. Byrd. It is celebrated the week of Sept. 17 each year because it was on Sept. 17, 1787 that delegates meeting in Philadelphia approved the U.S. Constitution.

“Democracy at Risk” is the title of a lecture to be presented by former Congressman Bob Edgar on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Byrd Center auditorium. Edgar will address the challenges posed to the political process by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision on the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Edgars’ talk, the seventh annual Tom E. Moses Memorial Lecture on the U.S. Constitution, will be presented in the Byrd Center’s auditorium as part of the observance of Constitution Day at Shepherd University. A discussion and reception will follow. The program is free and open to the public.

Bob Edgar is the president and CEO of “Common Cause,” a national nonpartisan, non-profit advocacy organization that strives to make government more open and accountable through engaging citizens in the democratic process. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974 to represent the Seventh Congressional District of Pennsylvania, he served six terms in Congress. Before joining “Common Cause” he served for seven years as general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. For more information about Bob Edgar see www.commoncause.org.

“The Constitutional Convention and the Miracle of Democracy” is the title of the Constitution Day lecture to be presented by Richard Dreyfuss on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies. Dreyfuss will describe the debates and explain the compromises crafted at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 which created the U.S. Constitution, emphasizing the importance of the Constitution for American democracy today. The lecture will be presented in the Byrd Center’s auditorium. A discussion and reception will follow. The program is free and open to the public.

Richard Dreyfuss has appeared in television, theatre and films for 45 years. He is best known for roles in “American Graffiti,” “Jaws” and “The Goodbye Girl,” for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1978. Dreyfuss now devotes his time and talents to The Dreyfuss Initiative, which aims to encourage, elevate and enhance the teaching of civics in American schools. He has become a spokesperson on the issue of media informing policy, legislation, and public opinion, both speaking and writing to express his sentiments in favor of privacy, freedom of speech, democracy, and individual accountability. For more information on The Dreyfuss Initiative see www.thedreyfussinitiative.org.

The Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies is a private, nonpartisan, and nonprofit educational organization administered by the Congressional Education Foundation with facilities on the campus of Shepherd University.

The mission of the Center is to help foster better public understanding of the United States Congress, the Constitution, and representative democracy both historically and in a contemporary setting. For more information see www.byrdcenter.org.