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Constitution Day Project

Created by Professor Alan Garfield in response to the official recognition of Constitution Day by the United States Congress in 2004, the Constitution Day Project encourages a collective celebration throughout the state of Delaware on September 17th to honor the date on which the Constitution was signed in 1787. As the first state to ratify the constitution, Delaware sets an example to other states of how to celebrate this important holiday.

As part of the Constitution Day celebration each year, Widener Law creates a special Constitution Day website featuring essays centered around a particular theme chosen by Professor Garfield. In 2006, a number of Delaware community leaders, including both U.S. Senators, the governor, the House representative, the president of the State Bar Association, and a number of other distinguished individuals wrote essays for the program. In 2007, the school invited Delaware public high schools to submit student-authored essays on one of five topics related to the Constitution. Every school district in the state participated in the project.

With the Presidential election in focus, the 2008 essay collection focused on the Presidency, and featured an essay by then Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., who managed to keep his commitment despite being named the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in August of that year. The 2009 site looked at the future of local news reporting and featured essays from Delaware news personalities. The 2010 collection featured the thoughts of prominent Delaware attorneys, judges, and academics as well as law enforcement officers on the Delaware Criminal Justice system.

The 2011 Constitution Day project looked at the Constitution and the economy, specifically the merits of a balanced budget amendment and the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

The 2012 Constitution Day site featured essays from several notable contributors, including a number of former congressmen. The essays looked at whether the current climate of political gridlock is indicative of a fundamental flaw in the Constitution, and asked "Is the Constitution Broken?"

For the 2013 essay collection, the eighth-year of the project, the theme revolved around privacy, asking "Is Privacy Dead?" Featured authors included Delaware Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons as well as Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden.

The 2014 Constitution Day collection asked if "We the People" are failing the Constitution and featured essays from Delaware Governor Jack Markell and former New Castle County Council president Tom Kovach among others.

The Constitution Day Project represents a commitment to continue celebrating the Constitution that created the United States of America.