Celebrate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights!

September 16th is Constitution Day! On September 17, 1787, the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day: to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.

Seven years ago, Congress established September 17th as a federal holiday to recognize the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1787.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties celebrates the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights every day, but is especially pleased to place focus on these essential foundational documents of our democracy on Constitution Day.

For Teachers and Educators
The ACLU, in conjunction with attorneys from public and private sectors, invites educators to participate in our “Celebrate the Constitution” program on Friday, September 16th.

Scores of San Diego and Imperial attorneys will be volunteering on that day to engage students in a rich, interactive, multimedia dialogue on constitutional principles and interpretation, and on American law, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.

The session can run in any block of time to meet your students’ needs -anywhere from 20 minutes to a full class period. The volunteer attorneys can make several presentations at your school on that day or speak to assemblies if that better meets your scheduling needs. Also, attorneys can present to classes on other days in the vicinity of Sept. 16, to accommodate block schedules or competing needs.

The attorneys bring nonpartisan brochures on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and on contemporary court interpretations of our rights and laws, with special emphasis on cases that engage and appeal to middle and high school students. A PowerPoint presentation and a student-created DVD are also available. Teachers are provided with a detailed document addressing the history and social science content standards that are met with this presentation.

Demand increases every year. This will be our 5th year coordinating speakers! Last year, attorneys from the offices of the U.S. Attorney, District Attorney, Public Defender, Federal Defender,and private law firms, including Cooley Godward, DLA Piper, Fish & Richardson, Jones Day, Luce Forward, Morrison & Foerster, Procopio Cory, Sheppard Mullin and Solomon Ward presented in more than 330 classrooms to more than 10,000 students!

Schedule a speaker for your classroom or school while they are still available!
Send us an email with your contact info
We offer this program to help you provide mandatory instruction on the Constitution on September 16th. Congress mandated that all publicly-funded educational institutions must provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. The United States Department of Education declared that any school that receives federal funding of any kind must conduct lessons on the Constitution on that day.

To guarantee that we will be able to match an attorney to your school’s schedule, please request a speaker by Friday, July 22nd. We typically, however, have been able to accommodate requests submitted before the last Friday in August.

To learn more or to schedule a speaker for your classroom or school while they are still available,send us an email with your contact info!

For Attorneys
If you are an attorney and would like to volunteer your services, please contact us today! Just provide us with your name, mailing address, daytime phone and email so we can be in touch with you. Also, if you have any date or geographic constraints that would help us in the scheduling, please let us know that too.

We’ll be offering two optional speaker training sessions to review Con Law and interesting cases that will help engage the students in the interactive dialogue we are all seeking. We have lots of background material on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and landmark Supreme Court cases, but all attorneys are welcome to develop their own curriculum–as long as it will get the kids talking and thinking! [A Saturday date and a weekday evening date are to be determined…they will be posted here soon!]

For Parents
If you are a parent and would like to know more about the program or would like us to contact a school or teacher, please email us or call 619.232.2121, ext. 260.

Constitution Day Council
A distinguished panel comprising judges, law firm partners and community leaders advises and supports the ACLU’s Constitution Day activities. If your firm would like to participate on this level,please email us or call 619.232.2121, ext. 260.

Constitution Day Council:
The Honorable H. Lee Sarokin, Retired, U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd District, Constitution Day Council Chair
The Honorable James Stiven, Retired, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, Program Chair

Founding Members
Mark Danis, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Eric Isaacson, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP
Anthony Stiegler, Cooley Godward Kronish LLP
Past Presidents of the San Diego County Bar Association:
– Candace Carroll, Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel
– Todd Stevens, Keeney, Waite & Stevens

Robert Brownlie, DLA Piper LLP
Robert Gerber, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Nancy Stagg, Fish & Richardson PC
Community Partner
Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation [Website]

List of Participating Legal Organizations [2010]
American Bar Association Immigration Justice Project
Andersen Mann Hilbert & Parker
Appellate Defenders, Inc.
Office of the Attorney General – California
California Innocence Project
California Western School of Law
Cooley Godward Kronish
Office of the San Diego District Attorney
DLA Piper
Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
Fish & Richardson
Fisher & Phillips
Jones Day
Latham & Watkins
Law Office of Adam Van Susteren
Law Office of Alex Landon
Law Offices of Eric Morton
Law Office of Isaac Blumberg
Law Office of Jonathan L. Willis
Law Office of Lilia S. Velasquez
Law Office of Rebecca P. Jones
Law Office of Stephen D. Lemish
Law Office of Steven Schorr
Law Office of Suzie Mindlin
Luce Forward
MacLeod & Catalano
Majors & Fox
McDougal Love Eckis Boehmer Foley & Lough
Morrison & Foerster
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch
Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd
Office of the San Diego City Attorney
San Diego Public Defender
Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton
Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith
State Bar of California
Sullivan Hill Lewin Rez & Engel
Suppa, Trucchi & Henein
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Turner Law Group
Office of the United States Attorney, Southern District of California
San Diego State University

Constitution Day Resources for Attorneys, Teachers, Students and Parents