Constitutional Conversations Engages Citizens in Civic Issues

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The Williamsburg Regional Library
The Williamsburg Regional Library

Constitutional Conversations will be kicking off the 2015-16 school year with a series of discussions at the Williamsburg Regional Library that begin Oct. 7.

The organization, which celebrated its fifth anniversary in February, is run by students at the College of William & Mary’s law school, sponsored by the school’s Institute of Bill of Rights Law and maintained by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and WRL.

The goal of Constitutional Conversations is to foster nonpartisan, intelligent conversation on a variety of constitutional topics, often based around hot topics in the media at any given moment.

Through thoughtful discussion of and reflection on civic rights and duties, the organization hopes to educate and inspire both students and adults in the larger community to “become active participants in the democratic process,” a news release said.

As in the past, Constitutional Conversations will offer separate sessions for students and adults in the community, in addition to a few shared sessions touching on more universal topics that would be of interest to both groups.

The first pair of sessions Oct. 7 will cover the “History of the Constitution” for students and “The Federalist Papers” for adults. Future topics include a look at upcoming Supreme Court cases, freedom of speech and the religion clauses.

Constitutional Conversations will also be expanding to a second location in the Hampton Roads area this school year, in conjunction with the Constitutional Leadership Initiative and Christopher Newport University.

All conversations take place on the first Wednesday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

The full schedule of this year’s sessions is:

  •  Oct. 7: History of the Constitution (Students), The Federalist Papers (Adults)
  • Nov. 11, 2015: Right to Vote and the Road to Suffrage (Students), U.S. and International Constitutions (Adults)
  • Dec. 2, 2015: Recent and Upcoming Cases (Adults and Students)
  • Jan. 13, 2016: Fourth Amendment/Search and Seizure (Students), Presidential Powers (Adults)
  • Feb. 3, 2016: The Freedom of Speech (Adults and Students)
  • March 2, 2016: The Religion Clauses (Adults and Students)
  • April 6, 2016: Equal Protection (Adults and Students)