Sept. 11, 2009

Contact: Kristen Parker, University Relations, Office: (517) 353-8942, Cell: (517) 980-0709,; Kristen Flory, College of Law, (517) 432-6959,

Constitution Day: MSU College of Law hosts public discussions

EAST LANSING, Mich. — From discussion on corporal punishment of children to health care to the relationship between law and religion, Michigan State University College of Law faculty will join the national celebration of Constitution Day on Sept. 17.

In recognition of the 222nd anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, "The State of Constitutional Discourse in America" will feature three free, public sessions about civility in America. All events will occur in the Castle Boardroom (room 343) of the College of Law. Reservations are required.

"As political discourse has reached an all-time low since 2000, constitutional discourse becomes all the more important," said Frank Ravitch, professor of law at MSU's College of Law. "Constitutionalism reminds us what makes our nation so great and when the Constitution becomes an afterthought or simply a political tool, we lose what is greatest about America."

Ravitch will facilitate a question and answer session about the relationship between law and religion, with a special focus on the Constitution. The session will run from noon to 1 p.m.

At 1 p.m., Susan Bitensky, professor of law, will discuss corporal punishment of children, saying it violates the Amendment's Section 1. Furthermore, she will explain that Congress is empowered to legislate, under the Amendment's Section 2, a ban on such punishment as a badge and incident of slavery. Following, Kevin Saunders, professor of law, will discuss constitutional theory issues raised during Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, including Bitensky's belief that some senators' comments were Constitutional assumptions.

A faculty panel from the College of Law and MSU's James Madison College will conclude the Constitution Day celebration with discussion about the state of constitutional discourse of hot-button issues, including national health care, race and the first and second amendments. The session will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

To learn more about the College of Law's Constitution Day celebration or to register, please visit


Michigan State University College of Law is a leading institution of legal education with a long history of creating practice-ready attorneys. As one of a few private law schools affiliated with a major research university, MSU Law offers comprehensive interdisciplinary opportunities combined with a personalized legal education. After 100 years as a private and independent Law College, the affiliation with MSU has put the Law College on an upward trajectory of national and international reputation and reach. MSU Law professors are gifted teachers and distinguished scholars. Law College curriculum is rigorous and challenging and the facility is equipped with the latest resources-all affirming MSU Law's commitment to educating 21st century lawyers.

320B Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824