The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Constitution Day

Linda Greenhouse Discusses How the Supreme Court is Pulling Us Apart with the Rockefeller Center

On Wednesday, September 23, 2020 Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times Supreme Court correspondent from 1978-2007, spoke with Dartmouth students and community members for the Rockefeller Center’s Constitution Day Lecture. Rocky Watch is a weekly series of live broadcasts that foster a virtual common space for community discussion in this time of social distancing and remote learning.

Constitution Day Program with Boston College Professor Ken Kersch

This Constitution Day, September 17, 2019, Boston College Professor of Political Science Ken I. Kersch delivered the Brooks Family Lecture entitled, “Conservatives and the Constitution.” In addition to the lecture, Professor Kersch had lunch with a group of students.

The lecture focused on a subject explored in his most recent book, Conservatives and the Constitution: Imagining Constitutional Restoration in the Heyday of American Liberalism. The book focuses on the role “originalist” legal theory played in the coalescing of the modern conservative movement and on implications this history carries for modern-day politics. “It is a story about how the conservative movement ultimately becomes a key constituent of the Republican party and ultimately takes over the Republican party.”

2017 Constitution Day: Professor Duchin Discusses Geometry and Political Representation

In honor of 2017 Constitution Day, the Rockefeller Center hosted Professor Moon Duchin of Tufts University, who gave a presentation on the impact of geometry in the determination of voting districts and the larger implications for political representation.

Professor Duchin provided an overview of how congressional districting works and the policy tradeoffs inherent to the current systems of voter counting and apportionment of Congressional representatives. She focused on gerrymandering and its various and often overlapping manifestations: political gerrymandering, which is the redrawing of voting districts for partisan gain; racial gerrymandering, which is the redrawing of voting districts for the purpose of diluting the voting strength of minority groups; and incumbent gerrymandering, which is the redrawing of voting districts for the purpose of creating safe seats for Republican and Democratic politicians. Professor Duchin also explained the different and often complementary mechanisms by which gerrymandering is achieved, specifically, the practices of voter “packing” and voter “cracking.”

2016 Constitution Day: Elizabeth Wydra’s Thoughts on Constitutional Accountability

Elizabeth Wydra is Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC)’s President. From 2008-2016, she served as CAC's Chief Counsel. A graduate of Claremont McKenna College and Yale Law School, Wydra joined CAC from private practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in San Francisco, where she was an attorney working with former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan in the firm’s Supreme Court/appellate practice. Wydra’s legal practice focuses on Supreme Court litigation and high-stakes cases in the federal courts of appeals. She has represented CAC as well as clients including congressional leaders, preeminent constitutional scholars and historians, state and local legislators and government organizations, and groups such as Justice at Stake, League of Women Voters, and AARP. Wydra appears frequently in print and on air as a legal expert for outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX, BBC, and NPR.

2016 Constitution Day: Elizabeth Wydra

It is no secret that the 2016 presidential election cycle has been littered with tension, controversy, and surprises — not the least of which was the sudden passing of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. With this, a seat that once belonged to arguably the most conservative Supreme Court Justice in recent memory has opened up, heating up an already heated election cycle. With two current Justices in their 80’s, and a third trailing close behind, the president who wins the 2016 election may have an unparalleled opportunity to remake the Supreme Court in their image. Considering the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, such an event would most certainly reverberate throughout the country, under not only the next president but also under the many presidents to come.

2015 Constitution Day: PoliTALK with Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School

On Thursday, September 17th, the Rockefeller Center hosted a PoliTALK student dinner with Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School as part of Dartmouth's annual Constitution Day celebration. Professor Amar teaches constitutional law both at Yale College and Yale Law School, and has been favorably cited by Supreme Court justices across the spectrum in more than 30 cases. 

2014 Constitution Day: Q&A with Professor Jennifer Sargent

For this year’s Constitution Day, the Rockefeller Center featured Jennifer Sargent, a Visiting Associate Professor of Writing at Dartmouth College. In her lecture, Professor Sargent discussed the scope of the Fourth Amendment’s privacy law as it applies to digital technology and information.

In addition to being a part of the Dartmouth faculty, Professor Sargent is also a faculty member at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Professor Sargent served as a District Court Judge in New Hampshire for eight years before she resigned from the bench to serve as Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office.

2014 Constitution Day: Celebrate on September 18th at 4:30 pm with a talk by Professor Sargent

2013 Constitution Day: Dartmouth Trustee Annette Gordon-Reed '81 to Discuss "Our Founders' Constitution" on 9/18

Today, September 17th, might seem rather unremarkable. The second day of fall term classes, the Dartmouth campus will begin to come back to life with the rush of both new and returning students. But many students may not realize that this is no ordinary day. In fact, it is one of the cornerstones of our nation’s founding; although Constitution Day is a rather low-key holiday, it reminds us of the original document that proclaimed the rights and laws that we still abide by today.

Dartmouth Alumna Annette Gordon-Reed ’81, who continued on to graduate from Harvard Law School in 1984 and is currently a member of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees, researches the Constitution and its evolution to modern times. She is also well known for her two books: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy and The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which went on to win 16 books awards, including the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in history and the National Book Award.

2012 Constitution Day: Former US Sen. Judd Gregg to Discuss "The Role of the Senate" for Constitution Day Program on Sept. 17th at 4:30 PM

The United States Constitution, the oldest written document of its kind still in continuous use, has guided U.S. lawmakers and politicians for over 200 years. While the U.S. Senate continues to best interpret and apply it, the current financial upheaval has come to test this body and its methods. In attempting to remedy the extensive damage to the economy, bi-partisan negotiation in the Senate is changing in an interesting and critical way.

September 17, Constitution Day, commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 brave men. Former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire will discuss the role of the Senate in the current fiscal crisis: how the United States Senate has evolved into the most likely forum under our constitutional structure for substantive bi-partisan action on major issues.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences