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Chesapeake College Marks Constitution Day

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Assistant Professor John Haas leads the Constitution Day discussion at Chesapeake College with Dr. Stuart M. Bounds, far left, and Judge J. Owen Wise. 

WYE MILLS - Chesapeake College recently celebrated Constitution Day with an open discussion of Constitutional history and current issues.

"The Fourth of July celebrates our independence, but Constitution Day marks the beginning of a new form of government that´s stood the test of time," said Moderator John Haas, who is an assistant professor of history at Chesapeake College.

Haas moderated a panel that included Retired Circuit Court Judge J. Owen Wise, who sits on the Chesapeake College Board of Trustees, and Chesapeake College President Stuart M. Bounds.

Judge Wise served as 2nd Circuit Administrative Judge for 12 years and was Caroline County State´s Attorney from 1970 to 1978. He is a graduate of Washington and Lee University and earned his law degree from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Bounds, who is in his ninth year as Chesapeake College´s president, earned both Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics and Master of Arts in Government and Public Administration degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park. He completed a doctorate in Higher Education at the College of William and Mary.

Topics discussed during the forum included the impact of Brown v. Board of Education,

Congressional questioning of Supreme Court nominees, and the role of the Constitution in our society. In light of the current Supreme Court vacancies, many of the questions centered on the court and its role.

"The Supreme Court is a very small institution with no enforcement power. Yet it must take on the U.S. government at times, and has had a significant impact on our society," said Judge Wise. "The court´s power lies in which cases the members choose to hear."

Both Judge Wise and Dr. Bounds cited the Brown v. Board of Education case as a watershed moment in U. S history and a good example of the Supreme Court prompting societal change. The court´s decision eventually brought the end of segregation in the United States.

"In that one case, the court overturned years of social custom and legal tradition. Sometimes the court jumps out ahead on a social issue, and yet the Supreme Court remains one of the most respected organizations in the country," Dr. Bounds said. "Their decision was unpopular in many segments of our society, but no one today even questions if it was the right thing to do. It was absolutely the right thing to do."


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