Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice visits campus.

Justice Marian P. Opala speaks to RSC students, faculty and guests on Constitution Day. Opala emphasized with passion the importance of having a strong constitution. (Photo by Danielle Finnegan)

By: Bryan Trude, feature editor

The Midwest City Rotary Club hosted Constitution Day Sept. 20 in the Student Center Main Dining Room.

Featured guest speakers included Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Marian Opala and former Oklahoma State Sen. Jim Howell, a current RSC Regent.

Constitution Day, nationally celebrated Sept. 17, was established as a federal day of observance when a proclamation was attached to the 2004 federal spending bill authored by former Sen. Robert Byrd. Prior to the bill, the date was observed as Citizenship Day.

Opala expressed his delight at the invitation to speak at RSC on the “223rd birthday of the U.S. Constitution”, also expressing his impression with the campus Paralegal Studies Program, calling it “one of the best in the state of Oklahoma.”

He spoke of the strength of the Constitution, the uniqueness of the document and how it is upheld by the judiciary instead of the legislature like in other nations.

Opala said that with the Marbury v. Madison decision of 1803, which made the Constitution enforceable through the process of judicial review, put the discharge of the Constitution in the hands of people who do not “have to stay popular.”

“What is so bloody unique about our Constitution that we should talk about it,” Opala asked.

According to the Library of Congress, the Constitution was written “in response to dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation and the need for a strong centralized government.” The U.S. Constitution was signed Sept. 17, 1787.

“We are the most lucky nation of all,” Opala said. “We got our Constitution in a toothless state. We grew teeth on it, and it still has a bite.”

The Rotary Club, established in 1905, consists of over 1 million members in more than 34,000 international clubs. According to the Rotary International Web site, Rotary works to “encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.”

“The Constitution is enforceable, but not in its’ entirety,” Opala said. “A little more needs to be done to make some provisions enforceable that go unenforced at this time.”

For more pictures from Constitution Day visit Photobucket.

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