Penn Students Can Tune In or Logon to Constitution Day Program Featuring U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sept. 16

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460
Media Contact:Andrea Miller | | 212-260-1520September 14, 2005

PHILADELPHIA-- University of Pennsylvania students have two ways to watch "Conversations with Supreme Court Justices," the national satellite broadcast program featuring U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Stephen Breyer, online or on TV. The program will air on the Penn Video Network (Channel 24) and be available on live streaming web video at 12 noon (EDT) on Sept. 16.

During the 30- minute program, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, the sitting justices engage in a frank dialogue with Philadelphia-area students about interpreting and applying the Constitution, including timely questions about what it takes to overturn precedent and how this document allocates and balances powers between federal and state government.

The webcast, which should begin by 11:45 am (EDT,) can be viewed by clicking on the special "Penn only Watch live!" link at  

The program will broadcast from noon to 12:30 p.m. (EDT) and again from 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (EDT.)  From 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. (EDT) that same afternoon, NPR's "Justice Talking," produced by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, will broadcast a live debate on "Free Speech in the Digital Age" with First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig and Motion Picture Association Past President Jack Valenti, attended by students from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

"As our country grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Constitution Day offers young people an opportunity to learn how a cornerstone of our democracy- the concept of federalism shapes -our lives," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of Penn's Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Nearly 1300 educators and public officials have registered to use the pre-recorded broadcast with the Supreme Court Justices and other free classroom-ready materials.

"We're thrilled by the overwhelming interest in our balanced, thoughtful programs and delighted they will help so many students take part in the first national day devoted to teaching the next generation about the Constitution," said Kathryn Kolbert, executive producer of NPR's Justice Talking and, a lead sponsor of the civics education initiative.

Preview clips of the Justices answering questions about federalism, overruling precedent, and civil liberties in wartime are online at and advance copies of the full program are also available.  The archived RealPlayer files of the Constitution Day programs can be viewed through links on the site after Sept. 16.

This is the first year that federal law requires educational institutions receiving federal funds to create educational programming on or around the day, Sept. 17, in 1787 that the U.S. Constitution was ratified. To help schools comply with the new federal requirement, the Annenberg Public Policy Center NPR radio series "Justice Talking" partnered with the National Archives and Records Administration, the New York Times Knowledge Network, the America Association of State Colleges and Universities, the American Bar Association Division of Public Education, the Center for Civic Education, the Close-UP Foundation, the Marshall-Brennan Legal Fellowship Program, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, the National Conference on Citizenship, the National Constitution Center, National History Day, Presidential Classroom, Street Law, the Annenberg/CPB Foundation and C-SPAN.

The Constitution Day Made Easy broadcasts and companion materials are made possible by the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Foundation for the National Archives.