Constitution Day Panel Discussion to Focus on Voting Rights and Elections

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Constitutional Democracy Project (CDP) will hold a virtual panel discussion on voting rights in celebration of Constitution Day on September 17 from 4-5 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

The panel, “What Does the Constitution Say About Voting?,” will focus on the history of the right to vote in this country and the role of federalism in defining the scope and operation of the right. Four distinguished legal scholars will share their research and perspectives. The speakers include:

  • Felice Batlan, professor of law and women’s legal historian at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Batlan’s research includes the history of the 19th Amendment, and she recently published a paper on the complicated history of citizenship and women’s suffrage.
  • Atiba Ellis, professor of law at Marquette University Law School. Ellis’ research focuses on voting rights law with specific attention to how varying conceptions of the right to vote exclude voters on the margins.
  • Derek T. Muller, professor of law at University of Iowa College of Law. Muller’s research includes a wide variety of voting rights issues such as the popular vote, electoral college, voter registration and voter identification laws, and nonjudicial solutions to partisan gerrymandering.
  • Carolyn Shapiro, professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law and co-director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States. Shapiro’s research is focused on the Supreme Court and its relationship to other institutions in a constitutional democracy. She recently published a paper on the Guarantee Clause and Congress’ role to protect elections.

Pre-registration is required for the program and is available through this link.

The panel is part of CDP’s upcoming professional development workshop series for high school civics, social studies and history teachers this fall, which will focus on voting rights and elections. The workshops will cover the youth vote and the history of young people’s political activism, and the history of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 up through Shelby County v. Holder and current efforts to amend the law. The final workshop scheduled for November will examine legal and constitutional issues that arose before, during, and after the election.

The Constitution Day panel and professional workshop series is supported through a partnership with the Jack Miller Center’s Chicago Founding Civics Initiative.

The CDP offers high-quality, hands-on civics education programs and teaching materials focused on the Constitution, law, and policy for middle school and high school students and their teachers. It is part of Chicago-Kent College of Law’s Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States (ISCOTUS).

The CDP’s upcoming 2020 Annual Conference for Teachers in Civics, Law, and Government, themed “Challenges in American Democracy; With Liberty and Justice for All?,” will provide teachers with classroom resources to address current challenges to individual liberties, the legal system, the electoral system, and fundamental democratic institutions. The 2020 conference, which will be held virtually on October 23, will offer teachers an opportunity to discuss how to explain our country’s current challenges and restore civic capital to students with other teachers and how we can help fulfill the democratic vision.

High school civics, government and history teachers who would like to register for the upcoming voting rights workshops or the “Challenges in American Democracy; With Liberty and Justice for All?,” conference can find more information on the CDP’s website