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Constitution Week lectures on tap

By Staff | Sep 9, 2011

Beginning Sept. 14, Shepherd University will host its annual program on the Constitution, with featured lecturers, former Congressman Bob Edgar and actor Richard Dreyfuss.

The Sept. 14 presentation by Bob Edgar, called “Democracy at Risk,” will serve as the 7th annual Tom E. Moses Memorial Lecture on the Constitution.

Edgar’s lecture will center on the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Lynn Moses Yellott helped found the Tom E. Moses Lecture Series and Foundation with her sisters, Merle Crawford and Jeri Moses-Eichler, after their father passed away in 2004.

According to Yellot, the subject of Edgar’s presentation “epitomizes” the work her father did.

Tom E. Moses founded the Eastern Panhandle branch of the American Civil Liberties Union and worked as a lifelong advocate for civil rights.

Bob Edgar is the president and CEO of Common Cause, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization that works for government accountability and transparency.

Yellot said she feel this year’s presentation will be “more hands-on.”

“Because of his background, he’ll have a very down-to-earth approach to discussing how the Citizens United case is affecting us,” she said.

The Constitution Day event has featured a range of lecturers in years past, including Georgetown law professor and expert on torture David D. Cole, Penn State law professor and expert on immigration rights Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia and the late Sen. Robert Byrd.

This year, the event will boast two nationally recognized names, with the inclusion of actor Richard Dreyfuss’ lecture, “The Constitutional Convention and the Miracle of Democracy,” scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17.

Dreyfuss’ lecture will detail the process and compromises made as a part of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, where the Constitution was originally drafted.

According to David Hostetter, director of programs and research at Shepherd’s Byrd Center for Legislative Studies, Dreyfuss will speak as a part of his work with the Dreyfuss initiative, an educational effort to promote the instruction of civics is schools.

Hostetter, who has helped organize the Constitution Day event since its inception in 2005, said he is looking forward to the reception for both speakers.

“I’m glad to see interest in Constitution Day and learning about the Constitution growing in the community,” he said.

Hostetter said he hopes people will show equal interest in both lectures.

“We have an embarrassment of riches this year,” he said.

For more information about Bob Edgar, visit www.commoncause.org. For more information on The Dreyfuss Initiative, see www.thedreyfussinitiative.org.