UF Law Commemorates Constitution Day Sept. 19

Published: September 10th, 2007

Category: News

On September 17, 1787, the 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution of the United States of America. This year marks the 220th anniversary of that event, and as part of the University of Florida’s Constitution Day activities, Levin College of Law Professor Chris Slobogin will speak at noon Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the law school’s Chesterfield Smith Ceremonial Classroom (HOL 180) on “The Constitution and Surveillance by the Government.”

Recent news reports have been replete with accounts of secret government programs designed to monitor not only the communications of foreign nationals but also of American citizens. Less well known are government efforts, particularly prolific in the wake of 9/11, to obtain vast amounts of information about everyday transactions of Americans and mine it for information, and to observe, through digital cameras and other surveillance devices, our physical activities. How much of this surveillance, if any, is governed by the Constitution and, if it isn’t, should it be? Professor Slobogin will address these and related issues at a level that is accessible—and interesting—to the campus community and the general public.

Slobogin said his talk will focus on the Fourth Amendment, a topic that has grabbed many news headlines recently.

“The Bush Administration’s wiretapping, camera surveillance and data mining programs may not violate the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, but they stretch the definition of what is reasonable to the limit, which is worth discussing on the day we officially celebrate the Constitution,” Slobogin said.

Professor Slobogin occupies the Stephen C. O’Connell chair at the UF Fredric G. Levin College of Law. He has authored or co-authored over 70 articles, books and chapters on mental health law, criminal procedure and evidence law. He recently published Minding Justice: Laws that Deprive People with Mental Disability of Life and Liberty, with Harvard University Press, and Proving the Unprovable: The Role of Law, Science and Speculation in Assessing Culpability and Dangerousness with Oxford University Press, and his book, Privacy at Risk: The New Government Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, will soon be published by the University of Chicago Press. He has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, the Today Show, National Public Radio, and many other media outlets, and has been cited in over 1,000 law review articles and close to100 judicial opinions, including three Supreme Court decisions. He has written extensively on the Constitution and law enforcement issues.