The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws

Miscellaneous Laws Affecting Universities

Compliance Partners

Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 and Constitution Day

Public Law 108-477

Under this provision tucked into a major spending bill, all schools receiving federal funding must hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution September 17th of every year. September 17th is the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. Per the Chronicle of Higher Education article on December 3rd, 2004 a spokesman for Senator Byrd said the measure would apply to all public and private institutions, including colleges, that receive federal money. The Education Department issued guidance on how to comply with this new law on May 24, 2005 (see below).

LANGUAGE IN THE BILL CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 4818, CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2005

SEC. 111. (a) The head of each Federal agency or department shall-

(1) provide each new employee of the agency or department with educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution as part of the orientation materials provided to the new employee; and

(2) provide educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution to each employee of the agency or department on September 17 of each year.

(b) Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year shall hold an educational program on the United States Constitution on September 17 of such year for the students served by the educational institution.

Department of Education Notice of Implementation of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day on September 17 of Each Year, 70 Fed. Reg. 29727, May 24, 2005

This Department of Education notice in the Federal Register contains links to informational web sites on the Constitution as well as the following note about days of the week as it relates to observance of Constitution Day on September 17th of each year:

Section 111 requires that Constitution Day be held on September 17 of each year, commemorating the September 17, 1787 signing of the Constitution. However, when September 17 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, Constitution Day shall be held during the preceding or following week.

Resources

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School: Fabulous collection of source documents in law, history and diplomacy

Dissent and Cake: Happy Constitution Day Sept. 16th, 2005 article on how to celebrate Constitution Day posted on Inside Higher Ed web page

Library of Congress Web page: Documents from the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention

National Archives Constitution Day web page: Includes a webcast



links updated 3/3/09 rab
compliance partner added 3/4/09 by mlo
compliance box links updated 6/2/09 rab
Links checked July 1st, 2010, FJL.