Sam Erman

Sam Erman of University of Michigan Law School coming to Alma College as part of Constitution Day.

ALMA — Alma College will welcome Sam Erman, a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, in honor of Constitution Day on Sept. 18.

Erman will speak at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18 in Alma College’s Swanson Academic Center, room 113. This event is free and open to the public.

“(Erman) is a nationally known expert in the history of how and why U.S. law about race and citizenship has changed over time,” said Kristin Olbertson, professor of history and pre-law program coordinator at Alma College. “With these issues continuing to be vitally important to millions of Americans today, it’s important to understand how past generations thought about them and fought over them.

“The historical perspective provides helpful context as we try to figure out the best path forward in a democratic society.”

Erman is the author of “Almost Citizens: Puerto Rico, the U.S. Constitution and Empire,” (Cambridge University Press, 2018) which lays out the story of how the United States denied Puerto Ricans full citizenship following annexation of the island in 1898. He is a scholar of the U.S. Constitution, empire, race, and legal change and has served as clerk for judges including Merrick Garland, and Supreme Court justices Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens.

“Erman’s background as a former clerk for two Supreme Court justices and his interest in making legal education more accessible mean this is an exciting opportunity for our pre-law students to make a great connection in their intended field,” Olbertson added.

Constitution Day is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on Sept. 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.