Constitutional Law: Part I: American Citizenship in the 21st Century
Part II: Article V: To All Intents and Purposes
Panel I: American Citizenship in the 21st Century
American citizenship has become intensely controversial in the past five years. Congress and state legislatures are debating proposals to amend the Fourteenth Amendment to eliminate birthright citizenship or to seek to do the same thing by state or federal statute. Others insist that Congress lacks authority to vary the current rule, and that states have no role to play in regulating or determining citizenship. In the immigration context, proposals to provide a “path to citizenship” for undocumented aliens are seen by some as indispensable to comprehensive immigration reform, while others decry any measure to do this as “amnesty.” In either case, the presence of as many as 12 million undocumented aliens exerts a significant effect on the machinery designed to regulate immigration and citizenship. Beyond this, the nature of American citizenship is contested at the philosophical and political level, with arguments drawing on history, political theory, and comparative law and policy. What does American citizenship mean today? How has its meaning changed over time? What is the future of the concept and the policy and legal apparatus that maintains it?
Panel II: Article V: To All Intents and Purposes
Proposals to amend the Constitution have arisen in a variety of context in the last decade, quickening in pace as the ideological gulf within our society widens. Activists of both parties have repeatedly called for specific amendments to change certain features of the Constitution or overturn Supreme Court interpretations of its meaning. Others have begun to organize a serious effort to spark a call from Congress for a new Constitutional Convention to propose amendments. Article V, the mechanisms setting up the amendment process, is little understood and seldom taught as part of the Constitutional Law curriculum. How does Article V really work? What are the perils and promises of the Convention mechanism? What is the role of Congress in the process? How does popular constitutionalism play into the process? Is it time to use Article V to amend Article V?
Business Meeting at Program Conclusion.