The Washington Post

It’s the Constitution’s birthday! What’s your agency doing?

Former Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images Former Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A very happy Constitution Day to all Loop fans!

Yes, indeed, Sept. 17 is the 226th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution by the delegates meeting in Philadelphia in 1787. (It’s also the 106th birthday of former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, but we digress.).

As we all know, the Bill of Rights, which protects us, among other things,  from having to let soldiers crash in our homes without our permission — at least  “in time of peace” — was not ratified until four years later.

But how much do you know about the Constitution?

Do you know that a 2004 federal law (Public Law 108-447) requires that the head of each federal agency or department “provide educational and training materials concerning the United States Constitution to each employee” on Sept. 17?

Do you know that law, thanks to an amendment slipped into an appropriations bill by former Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), also requires all schools receiving federal funds must also teach the United States Constitution?

So did the National Security Agency make all employees memorize the First Amendment and highlight significant First Amendment cases?

What is your agency doing Sept. 17 to comply with the law? Let us know! Leave a comment, send an e-mail ( or tweet us:@InTheLoopWP



Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.



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