Garrett Epps: What Is A Constitutional Moment?

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On September 18th Garrett Epps, an American legal scholar spoke to the public here at the College of Charleston about the Constitution and how it has evolved. Garrett Epps is also a Contributing Editor for The Atlantic, a Professor for the University of Baltimore School of Law, and a novelist. He was an elegant speaker and a privilege to listen to live. His lecture focused on the 13th 14th and 15th amendments and other things that have altered our views on the Constitution and its duties to protect our citizens. This report focuses on the implications of a constitutional moment that was triggered by the shooting in the Mother Emanuel Church here in Charleston SC. Prof. Epps began his lecture defining this term Constitutional Moment and elaborating on its significance to our country’s development. A Constitutional Moment is a period of prolonged and focused engagement of constitutional topics from which the Constitution is changed and transformed. In the same breath, Prof. Epps made the distinction that a constitutional moment doesn’t always have to result in changes to the text. Per his extensive research on American history and personal experience, constitutional moments are triggered by…show more content…
Epps speculated that as a society there are many things “wrong” with how we operate, but because we grow up with them engrained as “acceptable” they are hard to identify as ‘wrong’. This is why he believes social crises are the unfortunate answers to our biased perceptions and it appears to run true considering that we are now engaged in an enduring fixation on the treatment of African Americans as a result of the Mother Emanuel Church shooting. It’s a shame that it takes such an event for the nation to realize that racism still exists. Sweeping the historical impacts of slavery under the rug is no longer acceptable and one can only hope this constitutional moment will resonate with our representatives and the rest of the country until it’s faced and addressed

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