State constitutions play “a more direct role in our political life than virtually any other body of law,” says Penn State Law Professor Jamison Colburn, one of the organizers of State Constitutionalism in the 21st Century. This day-long symposium, to be held on September 22 at the Lewis Katz Building on the Penn State Law campus in University Park, will address the issue of constitutional change and engage in a contemporary inquiry into the fundamentals of state constitutionalism. The event will also be available via webcast and will be simulcast to the Law School’s Lewis Katz Hall in Carlisle.
State Constitutionalism in the 21st Century
will feature more than a dozen of the nation’s most prominent law scholars and jurists including Robert F. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and Associate Director, Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers School of Law-Camden, and the Honorable Jack L. Landau, Justice-Elect, Oregon Supreme Court.
According to Penn State Law Professor Gary Gildin,
another of the event organizers, “The rediscovery of state constitutions in the late 1970s was triggered principally by the quest to find protections of civil liberties in state charters more generous than the rights an increasingly conservative Supreme Court was willing to find afforded by the United States Constitution.” He said that this symposium will not only look at the results of those initiatives, but at newly emerging issues of state constitutionalism.
Gildin added that a number of states constitutions are under review including Pennsylvania’s. The Pennsylvania Constitutional Review Commission is currently assessing the Commonwealth’s Constitution and will make improvement recommendations on the structure and operation of government next year.
The Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board has approved the program for 6 hours of substantive law, practice and procedure CLE credit.