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The Constitution and Originalism Topic of WIU Pre-Law Symposium February 20

February 10, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - The American constitution and originalism will be the focus of the fifth annual Pre-Law Symposium Monday, Feb. 20 at Western Illinois University.

A 10-11:30 a.m. alumni panel discussion on “Preparing for Law School” in the University Union Sandburg Lounge kicks off the symposium. Panelists will include two Western alumni: Nicole Johnson, presently working at the Chicago law firm of Lord, Bissell and Brook; and Joshua Smith, a third-year law student at Northern Illinois College of Law. Michael Norris, assistant director of admission and financial aid at Drake University Law School, will also serve as a panelist.

Johnson, formerly of Normal (IL) and a recent graduate from the University of Illinois College of Law, is a 2002 Western alumna with a BA in philosophy and a BA in Spanish. She graduated as the Philosophy Departmental Scholar and a Philosophy and Pre-Law Honors Scholar. She was a member of Western’s Centennial Honors College and debate team, and was initiated into Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Eta Sigma. Johnson was also Western’s 2001 Lincoln Laureate.

Smith, formerly of Loves Park (IL), is a 2003 alumnus with a BA in philosophy. Also a member of the Centennial Honors College, Smith graduated as the Honors College Scholar, an Honors Scholar, the Philosophy Departmental Scholar and with Summa Cum Laude academic distinction.

At 1 p.m. in the University Union Sandburg Theatre, Dennis Goldford, Drake University professor of politics and director of the Program of Law, Politics and Society, will present the keynote address “The Living Constitution?”

Goldford recently wrote “The American Constitution and the Debate Over Originalism” (Cambridge University Press, April 2005), a work of constitutional theory that explores the nature of American constitutionalism and constitutional interpretation through a reconsideration of the longstanding debate between originalism and nonoriginalism.

A reception in the Sandburg Lounge will follow the address. The symposium panel, keynote speech and reception are open free to the public.

Sponsors the Pre-Law Symposium include the WIU Foundation; University Theme Committee; American Democracy Project; Provost’s Office; McDonough County Bar Association; Flack, McRaven & Stephens (Macomb); College of Arts and Sciences; Visiting Lecturers Committee; and the departments of political science, philosophy and religious studies, law enforcement and justice administration and history.

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