Saint Xavier University will celebrate Constitution Day and launch its new pre-law program with a lecture about the Founding Fathers and American constitutional rights, as well as a discussion about law as a profession. The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 20 in the Butler Reception Room, located in the Warde Academic Center at SXU’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St.
SXU Department of Philosophy Adjunct Professor Robert Shapiro will focus on the nature of “constitutional rights” in his lecture “Thinking about the Constitution: Constitutional Rights and Constitutional Interpretation.” He will address the question of why the American Founders, despite their obvious devotion to “rights,” wrote a document during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia with so few direct references to the concept. While exploring what the Founders may have understood by a constitutional right, he offers observations about the Founders’ inheritance from Hobbes, Locke and Blackstone and their understanding of the “more perfect Union” they were creating in the Constitution. He also investigates whether it makes sense to talk about the Founders’ “original intent” and whether any such notion has relevance for contemporary constitutional interpretation. After his lecture, Shapiro will talk with students about law school and the profession of law.
Shapiro has taught philosophy at SXU for five years, is a senior litigation partner at the Chicago firm of Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, LLP, and has been a commercial trial lawyer for more than 30 years. He is the author of many legal articles and has written a quarterly column for the American Bar Association’s Litigation Journal for the last twelve years.