American Presidents and the Constitution

May 23rd,2023 | 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Professor/Instructor/Speaker: President of Duquesne University, Kenneth Gormley, J.D.

American Presidents and the Constitution


The presidency of the United States is the most powerful position in the American system of government, and perhaps in the world. Yet the Constitution dedicates surprisingly little space to defining the duties or powers of the president. Rather each occupant of the office―the first president to the forty-fourth―has contributed to the story of the Constitution through the decisions he made and the actions he took as the nation's chief executive. Join Ken Gormley, a constitutional scholar and the president of Duquesne University, as he describes how presidents have added dimension to the U.S. Constitution's description of the role of the nation's chief executive. Gormley will focus on presidents as they confronted constitutional crises and scandal, including in modern times with former President Donald Trump facing criminal and civil jeopardy. This lecture is for anyone interested in a captivating and illuminating account of one of the most compelling subjects in our American democracy.


This program is in partnership with the Hagen History Center.


Location: Jefferson Educational Society - 3207 State Street, Erie, PA 16508

Date/Time: Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00 p.m.

Admission: FREE

Parking: lot behind building, State Street, 33rd Street, 32nd Street, French Street

President of Duquesne University, Kenneth Gormley, J.D.

Ken Gormley, J.D., was the 11th dean of the Thomas R. Kline School of Law of Duquesne University and became Duquesne University's 13th president in July 2016. Gormley joined Duquesne's law faculty in 1994, after teaching at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and engaging in private practice. Gormley earned his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1980. Gormley's work on myriad legal/historical topics has earned him a national reputation as a leading constitutional scholar. In 1997, he published Archibald Cox: Conscience of a Nation (Perseus Books 1997), the authorized biography of one of the leading lawyers and public servants of the 20th century. In 2010, Gormley published "The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr" (Crown), a New York Times bestseller chronicling the scandals that plagued the Bill Clinton Presidency. Gormley has testified in the United States Senate three times. He also served as president of the Allegheny County Bar Association, the first academic to hold that position in the organization's 137-year history. From 1998 to 2001, he served as mayor of Forest Hills, Pennsylvania.