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2023 Constitution Day Commemoration
September 22 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
What’s a Constitution For?
Presented by Dr. Wendy Martinek, Binghamton University (SUNY)
A constitution is a blueprint for government. It establishes the structures and processes of government. A constitution is also the embodiment of a set of principles. It reflects the political values of a nation. But, really, what is a constitution for? A constitution is for the people who are governed by it. It should serve their purposes and advance their interests. But constitutions need interpretation, and judges are the key interpreters of constitutions. How do citizens engage with those judges, and how do those judges engage with citizens? Whether through formal means (like Ireland’s referendum process for amending its constitution) or informal means (like Justice Sotomayor’s appearances on Sesame Street), citizens and judges communicate in numerous ways.
Dr. Wendy Martinek is a professor of political science at Binghamton University (SUNY), where she specializes in judicial politics and behavior. A proud alum of Lawrence University (BA 1990), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (MA 1995) and Michigan State University (PhD 2000), Dr. Martinek is a Wisconsin native. Go Pack!
Free pocket U.S. Constitutions will be available at the event.
- Read the U.S. Constitution. Produced by the National Archives and Records Administration, this site contains a full transcript of the Constitution as well as images of the original document and other historical facts.
- 8 Basic Facts about the Bill of Rights.
- 25 Landmark Constitutional Law Supreme Court Decisions.
- Register to Vote and Election Information. The right to vote is one of the fundamental rights in the Constitution. This site provides information on voter registration and information on upcoming elections.
- Test your Constitutional knowledge with this online quiz.
- Test your overall civics knowledge with iCivics, an online game created by Sandra Day O’Connor.
- Additional classroom lessons.
- Learn about free speech at UWM.