||Two Centre grads debate Constitutional interpretation on campus
RELEASED: September 10, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—On Constitution Day, two Centre College alums will return to campus to debate a crucial question: should judges interpret the Constitution according to the intent of those who framed it in 1787, or should they interpret it in light of contemporary values and realities?
On Thursday, Sept. 17, John David Dyche '82 and Ryan Keith '96, both practicing lawyers, will share their beliefs about this question in a convo titled, "The Constitution: A Living Document?"
The debate will take place during Centre's fifth-annual Constitution Day celebration. The event is organized by Centre's Law Society and funded by the Pierce and Amelia Lively Fund.
"In four of the five years, we have invited Centre grads to give the address," says Dr. Dan Stroup, Lively Professor of Government and Law. "Centre has so many graduates who have gone on to distinguished careers in the law, and this day gives us an opportunity to celebrate not only the Constitution, but Centre’s contribution to the law."
This is the first time, however, that the address will come in the form of a debate. "The topic seemed timely," Stroup says, "and we had two capable proponents of the opposing views."
One of these capable proponents is Dyche, a native of London, Ky., who was named the outstanding student of government in his graduating class at Centre. After working at the state Administrative Office of Courts, he graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was a winner of the Williston contract negotiation and drafting competition and was elected Marshal of his class.
Along with practicing law in the Louisville firm Fultz, Maddox, Hovious, and Dickens, Dyche writes a political column for The Courier-Journal, posts for the political blog NewMajority.com and has done political commentary for Kentucky Educational Television.
His articles on Kentucky politics have appeared in The Weekly Standard,and he has appeared as a guest on The Sean Hannity Show and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He has also written a new book, Republican Leader: A Political Biography of Senator Mitch McConnell (ISI Books), which was released in June 2009.
Keith too has had a notable career in the legal field. While earning a law degree from Washington and Lee University, he was lead articles editor of the Law Review, and his student note in the area of federal jurisdiction and procedure won Lexis Publishing's James William Moore Federal Practice Award.
Keith currently serves as general counsel at the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, where he oversees legal affairs for 10 state regulatory agencies and is a gubernatorial appointee. Before entering government service, Keith practiced law in Washington, D.C. and Louisville. He also served as a clerk for Honorable Boyce C. Martin, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Dyche and Keith will hold their debate at Centre on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Vahlkamp Theater.
"The question posed for this debate is not just some academic dispute between two esoteric schools of constitutional interpretation," Stroup says. "As recent political campaigns and the confirmation hearings of Justice Sotomayor reveal, it's one of the most contentious political issues of our day. It's especially important for students to hear a reasoned discussion of this question, conducted with the civility that characterizes political discourse at Centre."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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