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Constitution Day

Each year, on or about September 17, the History Department and Legal Studies Department of Bethany Lutheran College jointly sponsor an educational event concerning the U.S. Constitution. The entire campus community plus the general public are welcome to attend. Following are a list of topics and presenters from the inception of this program in 2005 to the present:
  • 2020: “Fourth-and-a-Half: The Ranking of Executive Orders according to Art. VI of the U.S. Constitution,” presented by Dr. Ryan MacPherson.

    Governors across the nation have issued numerous executive orders as emergency measures to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you curious about executive orders, and why some have been struck down in the courts but others have been upheld as constitutional? Learn about how the Supremacy Clause in Art. VI of the U.S. Constitution requires judges to rank governors’ executive orders as “fourth-and-a-half” when determining which orders have the force of law and which orders should be nullified.

  • 2019: “Separation of Powers,” presented by Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Natalie Hudson with a student panel discussion
  • 2018: “Religion and the Constitution: The ‘Free Exercise’ and ‘No Establishment’ Clauses of the First Amendment,” a discussion moderated by Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson (Bethany Lutheran College)
  • 2017: “Law and Faith” by the Honorable Mark Betters (Minnesota Judge for the Fifth District)
  • 2016: “The Electoral College: Its History, Some Controversies, and Your Questions” by Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson (Bethany Lutheran College)
  • 2015: “We the People: How George Mason Exemplifies What it Means to be an American” by Kristian Marzolf (History Major, Class of 2016)
  • 2014: “The Dakato 38 and the U.S. Constitution” by Justice R. A. (Jim) Randall, Minnesota Court of Appeals, Retired
  • 2013: “You Can Get There from Here: A Presentation to Commemorate Chief Justice Warren Burger” by Sara Edwards, attorney and visiting professor of Communication (Bethany Lutheran College)
  • 2012: “The Reality of Marriage and the Costs of Redefining It” by Evan L. Wilson, co-founder of Lawyers for Marriage
  • 2011: “John Marshall and the Supreme Court” by Anna Rysavy (Broad Field Social Studies Major, Class of 2012), and “The Judicial Philosophy of Antonin Scalia” by Andrew Soule (History Major, Class of 2012)
  • 2010: “The Constitution and Public Service” by County Commissioner (and former state legislator) Mark Piepho
  • 2009: “The ACLU: From Civil Liberties to Liberal Causes” by Michael Greibrok (History Major, Class of 2010), and “Sociological Jurisprudence: The Supreme Court during the Progressive Era” by Caitlyn Felthous (English Major/History Minor, Class of 2010)
  • 2008: “The Electoral College: Its History, Some Controversies, and Your Questions” by Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson (Bethany Lutheran College)
  • 2007: “The Origins of American Constitutionalism” by Dr. Jonathan Den Hartog (Northwestern College)
  • 2006:“The Burning of the Stars and Stripes: An Act of Protected Freedom or Punishable Defiance?” by Paul Gunderson (Broad Field Social Studies Major, Class of 2007), and “The First Amendment v. Promotion of Violence” by Nicholas Kaminsky (History Major, Class of 2008)
  • 2005: “A ‘Living Constitution’ or an ‘Enduring Constitution’?” by Dr. John Eidsmoe (Thomas Goode Jones School of Law)

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