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A discussion in Springfield on February 22 will focus on whether or not America needs a new Constitution

U.S. Constitution
National Battlefield Trust
U.S. Constitution

The event, featuring two experts on American experts and the U.S. Constitution, will be held February 22 at 4 p.m. at Karls Hall, Room 101, on the Missouri State campus.

A discussion in Springfield this month will focus on whether or not the U.S. needs a new Constitution.

The Missouri State University Political Science and Philosophy Department will present the program called “Does America Need a New Constitution?” as part of the Democracy Conversation Series.

Two experts on American politics and the U.S. Constitution will come to campus to be part of the discussion.

One is Sanford Levinson, a professor with the University of Texas Law School. The other is Steven Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego.

Levinson believes the Constitution is in "drastic" need of reform.

“State governments can usually act and make policy. And, if you don't like the policies, you can often vote the rascals out, and the policies will be changed," he said. "At the national government, it's much, much different that, as I say, it's extraordinarily difficult for national government, for Congress, at least, to make policy at all. And, it also turns out to be much more difficult at the national level than at the state level to vote the rascals out and really get the sense, as the expression goes, that elections matter."

He’s looking forward to a discussion, he said, with Smith who believes the Constitution doesn’t need to be changed.

Smith said the question of whether or not the U.S. needs a new Constitution is complicated for various reasons.

“But I think that my view is still that the Constitution is founded on fairly healthy assumptions about government and society and human beings," he said. "And, even though we have had to relax and extend, you know, some of the provisions of the Constitution in dealing with the world as it has evolved, those basic assumptions are still sounder, I think, than the ones that would inform a new Constitution. So, for that reason, I'm inclined to think we're better off adhering to the Constitution.”

Smith believes the discussion at MSU will show that people can have a civil and constructive conversation on important issues.

Levinson said he hopes the discussion will encourage people to think about issues that are important to think about and that students will "ask probing questions of their teachers."

Christopher Lynch, department head of the MSU Political Science and Philosophy Department, said the overall purpose of the Democracy Conversation Series is "to model civil discussion of fundament political and ethical issues among those with divergent points of view."

The discussion will take place Thursday, February 22, at 4 p.m. in MSU’s Karls Hall, Room 101.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.