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SMC Honors Constitution Day With Talks By Legal Scholars

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By Lookout Staff

Editor's note: This article was updated September 8 to include a new speaker, Pepperdine University Law School professor Mark S. Scarberry.

September 6, 2023 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) will commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 with two talks on the nation's guiding document this month.

U.S. Constitution

The talks will be given by USC law professor Jody Armour on Tuesday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. (PDT) and by UC Berkeley School of Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday, September 14.

And, capping off the series, Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law professor Mark S. Scarberry will speak at 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The talks will be presented online as live virtual events and will be followed by a brief discussion and Q&A moderated by SMC English professor Hari Vishwanadha.

Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, was established in 2005 to honor the signing of the Constitution by the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May 25 to September 17, 1787.

According to the National Archives, "The Constitution acted like a colossal merger, uniting a group of states with different interests, laws, and cultures. Under America’s first national government, the Articles of Confederation, the states acted together only for specific purposes.

"The Constitution united its citizens as members of a whole, vesting the power of the union in the people. Without it, the American Experiment might have ended as quickly as it had begun."

All educational institutions that receive federal funds must present a program for students each year in honor of Constitution Day to "celebrate the rights and liberties protected by a written Constitution," event organizers said.

Armour -- who serves on the Board of Directors for international nonprofit LEAP (Law Enforcement Action Partnership) advocating for criminal justice reform -- is a widely published scholar whose books include "N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law."

Chemerinsky -- who is Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law -- is a former president of the Association of American Law Schools and the author of numerous law review articles and 15 books, including "Constitutional Law and Interpreting the Constitution."

Scarberry -- chair-elect of the Constitutional Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools -- "has been deeply involved in issues of academic freedom." The title of his talk is: “Compelled Speech: The First Amendment and the Freedom Not to Speak.”

A Zoom link taking guests directly to each event will be available on the event date at shortly before the event begins. To attend, Zoom software must be installed on the viewer’s computer (free download available at

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