Speaking at the Madison building in Washington, D.C., Dellinger, the former Acting Solicitor General during the Clinton administration, and a member of the ACS Board of Advisors, delved into the history of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
"If there was a unifying theme to the Convention, it was a quest to find remedies to the threat of tyranny by legislative majorities," Dellinger said.
Dellinger, who is a frequent participant at ACS events, noted that while the delegates to the Convention who supported an overreaching national government ultimately won the debate, they did so barely. And, he said, the "the debate kept going" and reverberations from that debate are still felt today.
The Constitutional Convention of 1787 produced a Constitution that also included an "awful compromise," Dellinger noted. That compromise resulted in northern states becoming complicit in the enforcement of slavery, he said.
Paul Clement, the solicitor general during a portion of the George W. Bush administration, followed Dellinger and touched upon another debate that is also ongoing - how to interpret the Constitution. "Famously the Constitution did not directly address the notion of judicial review," Clement said. "It doesn't answer the question, how should one go about interpreting the Constitution. There remains a lively debate on the Supreme Court about how best to interpret the Constitution."
Video of the entire event, which includes a question and answer session, is available here or by clicking on the picture of Dellinger.
To mark the nation's founding document, lawyers and law students across the nation volunteered time at area public schools, like this one in Lima, Ohio, to share their knowledge about the Constitution and its relevance in all our lives. The volunteers are coordinated by the ACS Program, Constitution in the Classroom. See here for about the ACS program.