Janus Forum celebrates Constitution Day with roundtable discussions and special guests

Written by Jason Barone, CAS director of communications

On Thursday, September 22, Miami's Janus Forum will partner with the Jack Miller Center to present its first Constitution Day Conference, a day-long event involving moderated, roundtable discussions focusing on both historical and modern interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.

Created in 2004 and formally enacted a year later, Constitution Day (also known as Citizenship Day) refers to the day when the original document was signed by delegates in Philadelphia in 1787.

The Miami event begins in the Armstrong Student Center Pavilion A with two discussions, "The Supreme Court and its Future" (1 pm) and "The Constitution and its Future" (2:30 pm). It concludes at 4 pm in the Wilks Theater with "Celebrating Constitution Day: A Conversation," which will feature Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Politics at Yale University, and Jeffrey Rosen, CEO of the National Constitution Center.

"Our conference builds on the Janus Forum events we have done in the past to continue to elevate the political discourse on campus, and present students with a wide range of perspectives on the challenges that face the Court and the Constitution now and in the future," said Patrick Haney, chair and professor of political science. "We are especially excited to present this kind of discussion in the context of the political rhetoric we've been hearing during this unusual presidential election season."

The Janus Forum is a student organization that is supported by the Department of Political Science and The Thomas W. Smith Institute for Political Economy. It receives generous support from The Thomas W. Smith (Miami '50) Foundation.

"As the new program coordinator for the Janus Forum, I'm very excited to be holding our Constitution Day Conference for the first time," said Ruben Garza, who graduated cum laude in political science from Miami this past spring. "I believe it will be a fascinating discussion of how the Constitution has shaped our democracy and where we’re currently headed."

Jeremy Fortier, academic coordinator for the Thomas W. Smith Institute, added, "This event gives students a unique opportunity to hear from distinguished scholars representing a wide range of opinion on the role of the Constitution and the Supreme Court in American democracy. It will be a one-of-a-kind event."

Along with a moderator, the event's first roundtable will feature:

  • Chloé Bakalar, Princeton University
  • Adam Seagrave, University of Missouri
  • Michael Zilis (Miami 2007), University of Kentucky
  • Laura Moyer, University of Louisville

The second roundtable will feature:

  • John Forren, Miami University
  • Alex Vacca (Miami 1995), Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Nathan Sales (Miami 1997), Syracuse Law
  • Bradley Smith, Capital University Law School

The conference will then culminate with the moderated discussion between Dr. Amar and Dr. Rosen.

The first roundtable will be moderated by Janus Forum member Sara Rosomoff, a junior economics major and political science/Spanish minor. Madeline Zick, a senior political science and business economics major, will moderate the second roundtable. Kirsten Fowler, a diplomacy & global politics major who is also pursuing the MA in political science, will moderate the keynote event with Professors Amar and Rosen. As with the Janus Forum, questions can be tweeted in from the audience to #JANUSMiamiOH.

Akhil Reed Amar is Sterling Professor of Law and Politics at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. His work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society.

Jeffrey Rosen is a Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School and President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, a contributing editor of The Atlantic, and a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

"Our Constitution Day Conference will help us build momentum for the next Janus Forum on October 26," said Garza. "We'll be featuring a discussion about the next president's foreign policy challenges between Ambassador Wendy Sherman and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO James Stavridis."

For more information about the Constitution Day Conference, visit the Janus Forum website.