This year, Distinguished Professor Alan Garfield
’s annual Constitution Day website
looks at whether or not there are systemic problems inherent to the Constitution that are creating political gridlock in Washington. With a presidential election approaching, the topic is particularly pertinent.
To read this year's essays, visit law.widener.edu/constitution2012
“Is the problem merely one of behavior: that politicians are so hyper-partisan they are incapable of working across the aisle? If so, could voters solve the problem by ousting the extremists and insisting on a culture of cooperation?” Garfield writes in the site introduction before going on to ask, “Or is the problem more systemic, perhaps even embedded in the Constitution itself? Could it be that our Constitution’s vaunted checks and balances have become a recipe for gridlock?”
Professor Garfield conceived of an online project
to honor the September 17th federal observance of Constitution Day, and he has been instrumental in carrying it forward since 2006. Each year, he chooses a theme and solicits authors to write essays. Portions of this year’s collection will also be republished throughout the week leading up to Constitution Day on the editorial pages of The News Journal, based in Wilmington, Del., through a partnership between the law school and the newspaper.
Essay authors this year include:
- Mike Castle is a former U.S Representative from Delaware and former Governor of Delaware.
- Chris Coons is a United States Senator from Delaware.
- Mickey Edwards represented Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years and is currently the Director of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowships in Public Learning.
- Russ Feingold represented Wisconsin in the United States Senate for 18 years and is the Founder of Progressives United.
- Ted Kaufman is a former United States Senator from Delaware and is currently a Visiting Professor of the Practice at Duke University Law School.
- Jeffrey Nelson is the Executive Vice President for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
- Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann are co-authors of “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track” (2006) and “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism” (2012). Ornstein is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Mann is a Senior Fellow and The W. Averell Harriman Chair at the Brookings Institution.