Friday, September 17, 2010

Constitution Day

Whoops! OOTJ nearly missed celebrating Constitution Day, 2010! Tip of the OOTJ hat to William Hein, actually, for their little e-mail alert! Here is the Federal Register Notice of Implementation of Constitution and Citizenship Day on September 17 each year, in 2005.

The Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement announces that, pursuant to legislation passed by Congress, educational institutions receiving Federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the United States Constitution on September 17 of each year. This notice implements this provision as it applies to educational institutions receiving Federal funding from the Department.
The federal law noted is Section 111 of Division J of Pub. L. 108-447, the ``Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005,'' Dec. 8, 2004; 118 Stat. 2809, 3344-45 (Section 111). Here is a nice site with lesson plans and facts about the Constitution. Fox News actually has an informative story about the history of the bill and this holiday here. Apparently the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia urged the passing of this law in 2004, though it had roots all the way back to 1940 when Congress created "I am an American Day" in May. In 1952, Congress repealed that earlier law and re-created the holiday as as Citizenship Day, on September 17. So, Senator Byrd's law, tucked into an appropriations bill I can't help but notice, adds two requirements to Citizenship Day:

* The U.S. Office of Personnel and Management will make available to all agency heads material to help educate all federal employees about the Constitution, particularly regarding its relation to the oath they take to uphold it; and

* Every educational institution receiving any federal funds must hold an educational program on September 17 for its students.

The image of the original Constitution is from , the National Archives website.

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