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September 14, 2005

Sept. 16: CONSTITUTION DAY event broadcast live to all 7 Oregon University System campuses

Can international law be used
to interpret the Constitution?
UO law panel discusses the controversy at
Constitution Day event, September 16

Independence Hall The University of Oregon School of Law will present a free panel discussion at noon on Friday, Sept. 16 as part of a national celebration of Constitution Day. The event, which will be broadcast live on all seven Oregon University System campuses, honors the final meeting of the Constitutional Congress in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787 and the signing of the United States Constitution.

Over the past few years, the U.S. Supreme Court has used international law overtly in interpreting national law* — but not to everyone’s satisfaction. Last spring, congressional Republicans introduced  bills** in both houses to reverse that trend.   UO law Associate Dean Margie Parisassociate dean Margie Paris says, “The use of international law in interpreting our own constitution has become quite controversial.  We’re going to take a look at that and other issues of international law in this Constitution Day event.”

Paris and Hari Osofsky, visiting professor of international  law, are the faculty panelists. 
Osofsky says, “”At the heart of the controversyVisiting Professor Hari Osofsky are definitional debates regarding international law, as well as long-standing U.S. ambivalence over its relationship to the international legal system.  We hope to put some of these issues in context.”  
Law student Alex Frix from the American Constitution Society will participate and representatives from the Federalist Society have been invited as well.

The Federalist Society was founded by law students at the University of Chicago in 1982 — it represents conservative and libertarian attitudes towards law and policy. The American Constitution Society was established by Washington D.C. law students and policymakers in 2001 to support liberal and progressive legal views.

The free public event is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m., in Room 175, Knight Law Center, 1515 Agate Street in Eugene. The talk will be telecast on the university’s cable system on channel 14. It will also be streamed live on the Internet and will be available as video-on-demand.  Viewing on the Internet requires Real Player.

The event will be available on DVD for later viewing.  Contact Mike Majdic, (541) 346-1945 for more information on how to access the event on line.

Live streaming (available only during event times: Noon to 1:00 P.M. PDT on 9/16/05):


*foreign law cited in holding anti-sodomy statutes unconstitutional, increasing the minimum age of death-penalty eligible defendants and making the mentally retarded ineligible.
**March and April 2005: H.R. 1658 and S. RES. 92 
-Eliza Schmidkunz 

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