TWIN FALLS — How many people know what the U.S. Constitution is all about?
Not so many, retired University of Idaho interim president and law dean Don Burnett said Thursday.
Burnett, Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robyn Brody and David Adler, constitutional law author and president of the Alturas Institute, spoke to a capacity crowd during the College of Southern Idaho’s Constitution Day program at the Turf Club.
The speakers came to town to promote a possible City Club of the Magic Valley, a group whose mission would be to advance civic education and participation.
An estimated 82 percent of Americans can’t define the rule of law or say how it applies to the Constitution, Burnett said. And that, he said, is an unsettling fact.
“There is a civil education deficit in this country,” he said.
This deficit has resulted in a public that is angry at the judicial system, Brody said.
Much of the conversation Thursday centered around the role of the judicial branch of the government and the need for understanding the rule of law, or the structure of the legal system.
“Why is our citizenry angry at those elected to carry out the law?” Because people don’t understand how the judicial process works, she said.
In this era of “the end justifies the means sentiment,” great tensions exist between branches of government, Adler said.
City clubs are an opportunity to “raise the issues to a higher level,” he said.
Sponsors of the Constitution Day luncheon, including the Times-News, hope to spur enough interest to launch a club here.
Club membership will be open to anyone in the Magic Valley, said the newspaper’s publisher, Travis Quast.