Akhil Reed Amar: Constitution Day Celebration
Constitution Day Celebration
Since its ratification in 1788, the Constitution has served as a beacon to democratic government and civic engagement. As a result, interpretations over the scope of the document continue today, much as they did in the 1780s when everyday citizens and politicians alike worked to answer the weighty questions of a young Republic: should the nation’s borders be expanded, and if so, will slavery be allowed to spread? New Worlders like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison were notable architects of this grand unionist blueprint. Still, other founders whose names are less prominent today also offered essential ideas and images.
Borrowing from his new book, The Words That Made Us: America’s Constitutional Conversation, 1760 – 1840, Professor Akhil Amar offers a guide for those seeking to understand America’s Constitution today and the men who built it. In honor of Constitution Day, and on behalf of Grand Valley State University, the Hauenstein Center, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, and Grand Valley State University’s Political Science Department were proud to welcome Akhil Amar to Grand Rapids to discuss The Words That Made Us.
Akhil Reed Amar is a Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law in both Yale College and Yale Law School. After graduating from Yale College, summa cum laude, in 1980 and from Yale Law School in 1984, and clerking for then-Judge (now Justice) Stephen Breyer, Amar joined the Yale faculty in 1985 at the age of 26. He is Yale’s only currently active professor to have won the University’s unofficial triple crown — the Sterling Chair for scholarship, the DeVane Medal for teaching, and the Lamar Award for alumni service. Amar’s work has won awards from both the American Bar Association and the Federalist Society, and he has been cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than forty cases — tops in his generation. He regularly testifies before Congress at the invitation of both parties; and in surveys of judicial citations and/or scholarly citations, he invariably ranks among America’s five most-cited mid-career legal scholars.