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Hauenstein Center to host debate on constitutional interpretation

  • A graphic that says Debating the Constitution over a historical image of the Founding Fathers.

Posted on September 12, 2017

The rules of American democracy and governance are controlled by the Constitution — a document that contains fewer than 8,000 words and is 230 years old. The Constitution's concise nature, along with the unlimited appetite for change in the United States, has created an ongoing debate over the fundamental principles that the document represents and what its authors intended it to mean more than two centuries ago.

In honor of Constitution Day, Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host a debate on constitutional interpretation.

Debating the Constitution

Thursday, September 14, at 7 p.m.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

Free and open to the public

The event is presented in partnership with the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum. 

The debate will be between Nathan Goetting from Adrian College and John McGinnis from Northwestern University. Victoria Vuletich from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School will moderate. 

McGinnis is the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University and he has served in the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a past winner of the Paul Bator Award given by the Federalist Society, and has clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Goetting is the editor-in-chief of the National Lawyers Guild Review and an associate professor of criminal justice and jurisprudence at Adrian College. He writes and teaches in the areas of constitutional law, civil liberties and critical legal studies. Goetting has taught at several law schools and his writings have been cited in Harvard Law & Policy Review, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, and the University of Colorado Law Review, among other scholarly publications.

Vuletich joined the Cooley faculty in 2008 after working with the State Bar of Michigan since 1999. She is an expert in legal ethics and was recently a guest lecturer at Hertford College, Oxford University.