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Journalist, Supreme Court Expert, to Speak at ODU for Constitution Day

By Brendan O'Hallarn

The United States Supreme Court has had a vacancy since the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February.

With a docket full of controversial cases looming for the nation's top court to consider, there is a battle within Congress about whether to consider a Barack Obama nominee in the final stretch of his presidency.

The crisis will take center stage during the upcoming Constitution Day observance at Old Dominion. The University's Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs, which is part of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, is hosting a talk Sept. 13 by Dahlia Lithwick, the senior Supreme Court correspondent for Slate.

Lithwick's presentation "Filling Scalia's Seat," will be held at 7 p.m. in the Mills Godwin Life Sciences Building, room 102. The speech is free and open to the public.

On Sept. 17, 1787, the burgeoning republic's founding fathers signed the most influential document in American history: the United States Constitution, which established the framework of government as well as the rights and freedoms citizens enjoy today.

Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004, when Sen. Robert Byrd lobbied for a bill designating Sept. 17 as the day for citizens to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution and learn more about our founding document. That year, Congress passed a provision mandating that every school and college receiving federal money must teach about the Constitution annually.

Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate, and writes the "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence" columns for the online news magazine. Host of the "Amicus" podcast, her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper's, The New Yorker, The Washington Post and Commentary, among other places. She won a 2013 National Magazine Award for columns on the Affordable Care Act. She has been twice awarded an Online Journalism Award for her legal commentary and was the first online journalist invited to be on the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

Lithwick has testified before Congress about access to justice in the current Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts.

She has appeared on CNN, ABC, The Colbert Report, and is a frequent guest on "The Rachel Maddow Show." Lithwick earned a BA from Yale University and a law degree from Stanford University.

For more information about Old Dominion's Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs, visit the Institute's website.

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