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THE REJECTION OF ESTABLISHED RELIGION IN A NEW
Dean Michael A. Fitts and Joseph M. Torsella, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, inaugurated the University of Pennsylvania Law School and National Constitution Center Visiting Scholars Lecture at the Law School in February. The appearance of Con Law scholar Michael W. McConnell, a Visiting Scholar at the National Constitution Center this year, signals the growing partnership between the two institutions.
Dean Fitts stated that the National Constitution Center “promises to be the center for the international study of constitutions.” Penn Law School will benefit from the expanding resources and programs available at the Center and, reciprocally, the Center will benefit from the talent of constitutional law scholars and students at Penn.
The speaker, Michael W. McConnell, is a Professor of Law at the University of Utah. His lecture “Establishment and Disestablishment at the Founding” offered a historical perspective for how the United States came close to having an established national religion at its founding through the creation of a labyrinth of legislation, and how that effort was ultimately rejected.
The National Constitution Center has been under construction in Philadelphia since 1998 as part of a plan to make the Independence Hall and Liberty Bell location in Center City Philadelphia similar to the promenade of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Construction will be complete and the National Constitution Center will open officially on Independence Day in 2003.
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