FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington marked its 14th annual Constitution Day commemoration with a discussion of significant past and upcoming cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, presented by Jim Melcher, UMF professor of political science, on Oct. 7. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the live event was only open to a limited number of campus community members. However it is available to the public on YouTube at

The Supreme Court was established in 1789 by Article Three of the U.S. Constitution to help protect individual’s constitutional rights to equal protection and due process under the law. The most common way for a case to reach the Supreme Court is on appeal from a circuit court; unlike all other courts, the Supreme Court has discretion to decide which cases it will hear.

This year’s presentation featured a docket of U.S. Supreme Court cases focusing on last term’s highlights and this term’s coming attractions.

Past term: Chiafalo v. Washington (Electoral College); June Medical Services v. Russo (Abortion regulation); The “Title VII Trilogy Cases”: Bostock v. Clayton County, Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC (The meaning of “sex” in the 1964 Civil Rights Act); Little Sisters of the Poor, Sts. Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (Affordable Care Act and contraceptives); Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (Blaine Amendments and vouchers for religious schools); and Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California (DACA).

Coming term: California v. Texas/Texas v. California: Affordable Care Act; Fulton v. City of Philadelphia: Adoption policy, religion and sexual orientation; Tanzin v. Tanvir: The no-fly list and lawsuits against individuals in the government; Jones v. Mississippi: Juveniles and “life without parole”; and Borden v. US: “Recklessness” and the Armed Career Criminal Act,

Opinions on last term’s Supreme Court cases can be found at

Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, recognizing all citizens who were born in the U.S. or became citizens through naturalization. Previously known as Citizenship Day, Constitution Day was created by Congress in 2004. The federal holiday was revised to recognize not only those who have become U.S. citizens, but also the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787.

In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.

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