University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations

September 8, 2006
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

USA Observes Constitution Day Sept. 18 with Lecture on Warrantless Surveillance Court Decision

The University of South Alabama will observe Constitution Day with a lecture and discussion on the recent federal district court ruling that the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program was unconstitutional.

Dr. Ron Nelson, an assistant professor in the USA department of political science and criminal justice, will present a lecture, “The Taylor Decision: Wiretapping and the Constitutional Debate.” The talk and discussion, sponsored by the USA Student Government Association, will be held from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. on Monday, September 18 in Room 160 of the Humanities Building.

Constitution Day is an annual observance on campuses nationwide. U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat and the U.S. Congress unofficial constitutional scholar, believes that American primary, secondary, and post-secondary students lack significant knowledge regarding the U.S. Constitution. In December 2004, Byrd offered an amendment passed by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate in attempt to increase constitutional knowledge.

The legislation requires that all educational institutions that receive federal funds implement educational programs relating to the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Department of Education, charged with implementation of this legislative requirement, intentionally left the implementation language vague. With no specific curriculum of interpretation of the U.S. Constitution provided by the U.S Department of Education or Byrd, academic institutions are free to provide a wide array of programming for their students.
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