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Federal Court to Sponsor a Public Reading of the U.S. Constitution

Event Date: 
Tuesday, September 17, 2019


The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee is joining with the
Knoxville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association to observe Constitution Day on
September 17 by sponsoring the second annual public reading of the U.S. Constitution.
The reading will take place from 11:30 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m. in the
courtyard of the Howard H. Baker Jr. U.S. Courthouse at 800 Market Street.
The public is invited to join employees of the court and employees of other
government agencies in the federal courthouse in reading the Constitution in segments
of one-minute or less. Those who want to read may register to do so at the following
web address:

Registration in advance is not required; however, “You may arrive at any time to
read during the event, so long as readings remain available,” according to U.S.
Bankruptcy Judge Suzanne Bauknight, who is coordinating the event for the court’s
Civics Education and Outreach Committee.
In case of rain, the event will take place in the courthouse breezeway adjacent to
the courtyard.

Federal courts throughout the country are sponsoring similar reading programs to
recognize the signing of the Constitution.
At 10:00 a.m. that day, U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan will preside over a
naturalization ceremony at historic Blount Mansion, located two blocks from the
courthouse at 200 West Hill Avenue. The mansion, ca.1792, once was the home of
William Blount, former U.S. Senator, Territorial Governor, and a signer of the
Constitution. The new American citizens will be invited to join in the nearby reading of
the Constitution. Judge Varlan will also preside over a second naturalization ceremony
at the courthouse at 2:00 p.m.
Also, on September 17, at 5:30 p.m., Chief Judge Pamela L. Reeves will
participate in a Constitution Day lecture at Blount Mansion.


The Chattanooga Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, in partnership with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, will host a public reading of the United States Constitution to celebrate Constitution Day on September 17, 2019.

The event will be held at the Joel W. Solomon Federal Building, 900 Georgia Avenue, on the courthouse steps from 11:30 a.m. to approximately 1:00 p.m. 

The public is invited to attend this event to join the FBA and the Court in celebrating our status as “We the People” and in commemorating the document and law that formed the bedrock of our beloved country.  The Constitution will be read in 110 segments that take one minute or less to read for the average reader.

If you would like to read a segment, please sign up at

Please visit check-in at the event when you arrive.  Signing up in advance is not required but would be appreciated.  Please note that you do not have to arrive at 11:30 a.m. to read—you may arrive at any time during the event, so long as readings remain available.  Readings will primarily be assigned on a first-come first-filled basis.


For more information about this event or the Federal Bar Association, please email