On Tuesday 19 September, Dr. Stephen Schecter, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Council for Citizenship Education at Russell Sage College will deliver the Fall Katt Institute Lecture at SUNY Ulster. The title of his lecture will be “American Federalism Today: Constitutional Principle or Political Pawn?” Professor Schecter’s will speak at 7.00pm in the College Lounge, Vanderlyn Hall (Van 203) Stone Ridge Campus.
The textbook definition of federalism is a system that divides and shares powers between federal and state governments. But federalism is more than that. It is a philosophy not just of governments but of relationships and organizations. It is the idea that relationships can be voluntary agreements among equals and equals can form organizations that are neither centralized nor decentralized. The Framers of the Constitution understood this philosophy. They designed the Constitution around it. How do we understand federalism today? Do we still have a federal system? What do politics and policies look like today through a federalism lens?
Professor Schechter has been at Sage since 1978 with a leave of absence from 1986 to 1990 to serve as Executive Director of the New York State Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. Most recently he served as editor-in-chief of the 5-volume Encyclopedia of American Governance, co-published by Macmillan, Gale, and Cengage, which was recognized in 2017 by the American Library Association’s reference division as one of the best reference works of the year. He is senior author of Exploring Political Ideas published by CQ Press, Congressional Quarterly Inc. Professor Schechter has long been a scholar of American and comparative federalism. He co-founded the Section on Federalism of the American Political Science Association, he co-founded the International Association of Centers for Federal Studies, and he founded the Publius Annual Review of American Federalism. He also has worked for federal, state, county, and local governments. In the 1980s, he was a consultant on Reagan’s New Federalism to the Special Assistant to the President and the Chairman of the US Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. He joined the Center for the Study of Federalism in 1972 and still serves actively as its Vice President. The Center is designing a federalism website (including a 2-volume federalism encyclopedia) which will open later this year.
Professor Ray Raymond, Co-founder and Director of the Katt Institute said : “Dr. Stephen Schecter is not only one of the most distinguished scholars of the US Constitution in the US, he is also an exceptional teacher and practitioner who has worked tirelessly for greater constitutional literacy for decades. He is a national treasure.” The mission of the Dr. Donald C. Katt Institute for Constitutional Studies is to help college faculty, students, teachers, business people, the legal community and the general public in the Mid-Hudson Valley deepen their understanding of the fundamental principles of the United States and the New York State constitutions, their history and their continuing relevance to current public policy debates.