In recognition of Constitution Day the featured panel will discuss current issues related to free speech, political discourse, race, sexuality, and the press. They will examine how the U.S. Constitution addresses the civil liberties related to these important issues that we believe constitute the core of U.S. citizenship. An engaged citizen is a one who can freely participate in political discourse and question the actions of her government without fear for safety. Yet, as our panelists will discuss, these fears of being silenced or marginalized remain all too prevalent in our society because of current jurisprudential attitudes toward hate speech, the press, and the right to privacy that protects our individual choices relating to our own body. Our constitutional civil liberties serve as the fundamental legal guaranties that enable us to continue to be engaged in an open, free, and democratic society. These liberties, as our panelists will demonstrate, are under attack. This event will ask what we as a nation are obligated to do in order to protect these fundamental freedoms from anti-democratic and extra-constitutional sociopolitical forces.
James LaRue is the Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Author of "The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges," LaRue was a public library director for many years, as well as a weekly newspaper columnist and cable TV host. In 2014, the Trustees of Douglas County Libraries named a library after him, and he's not even dead yet.
Eugene McCarthy is an assistant professor of legal studies at UIS. His primary intellectual focus is on comprehending and explaining problematic or obscure areas of the law through historical, cultural, and literary texts. He is currently engaged in scholarship relating to constitutional hermeneutics, corporations and the law, the pharmaceutical industry, and the role of special interests in American legal institutions. Prior to academia, Eugene practiced as an attorney at one of the nation’s top law firms. Eugene’s current book project investigates the role that nineteenth-century corporate law played in shaping American culture and society.
Deborah Anthony is an associate professor of legal studies at UIS. Her research interests include modern and historical gender law and politics, constitutional law, feminist perspectives on family law, and employment discrimination. She has published on topics such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and its disparate effects on women, employment discrimination under Title VII, parental leave policies at colleges and universities, and sex-based rights in family law. Her project of the last several years has focused on the historical development of women’s legal and political status as viewed through the lens of their surnames, and several articles have resulted which focus on specific aspects of that development.