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Lecture on “Magna Carta and the American Constitution” Will Mark Constitution Day at Library of Congress


Constitutional law scholar Akhil Reed Amar will discuss Magna Carta and its historical connection to the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 16 at the Library of Congress

The lecture, titled “Magna Carta and the American Constitution,” will serve as the annual Constitution Day lecture presented by the Law Library of Congress. Amar will speak at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

Sponsored in part by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, the event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 to recognize the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

Amar’s lecture also is part of the Magna Carta lecture series held in conjunction with the Library’s upcoming exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor,” which opens Nov. 6, 2014, and runs through Jan. 19, 2015.

Amar will base his lecture on his two most recent books, “America’s Constitution: A Biography” (2005) and “America’s Unwritten Constitution” (2012), and will offer an overview of the grand project of American constitutionalism, past, present and future. Amar will highlight the ways in which the American constitutional experience has both drawn upon and broken with English constitutional precursors such as Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights of 1689.

Amar is the Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University, where he teaches constitutional law at both Yale College and Yale Law School. He received a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in 1980 from Yale College and a J.D. in 1984 from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of The Yale Law Journal.

After clerking for Judge Stephen Breyer, U.S. Court of Appeal, 1st Circuit, Amar joined the Yale faculty in 1985. Along with Paul Brest, Sanford Levinson, Jack Balkin and Reva Siegel, Amar is the co-editor of a leading constitutional law casebook, “Process of Constitutional Decision-Making.”

Amar also is the author of “The Constitution and Criminal Procedure: First Principles” (1997) and “The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction” (1998).

The Law Library of Congress was established in 1832 with the mission to make its resources available to members of Congress, the Supreme Court, other branches of the U.S. government and the global legal community and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of law for future generations. With more than 5 million items in various formats, the Law Library of Congress contains the world’s largest collection of law books and other resources from all countries and provides online databases and guides to legal information worldwide through its website at

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

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