Sandra Day O’Connor will swear in new citizens during Gilbert’s Constitution Week. And all it took to secure the Supreme Court justice’s presence was an invitation.
Constitution Week committee co-chairwoman Barbara Stowell said the committee sent O’Connor a letter when it decided in May to incorporate a naturalization ceremony into the events.
O’Connor will swear in 50 new citizens during the Constitution Fair, which runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at Mesquite High School. O’Connor announced her retirement this year, saying she would step down when her successor is confirmed.
The citizenship ceremony where O’Connor will appear is open to the public.
Stowell said O’Connor’s presence and the ceremony fit with the celebration’s theme of "America, the dream goes on."
The events are designed to promote "an awareness of the Constitution, a greater appreciation for our country and just how lucky we are to live in America," she said.
The town’s fourth annual Constitution Week events begin in mid-September and include a musical comedy called ‘We the People" presented by Gilbert Fine Arts Association on Sept. 14-17 and 22-24, community flag day on Sept. 17, a family Constitution lesson for home study on Sept. 19 and a tribute to the Founders event.
Stowell said the tribute to the Founders includes a debate between community actors playing Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at Gilbert High School.
Founding-era characters are visiting Gilbert schools over the next few weeks to give short presentations and handouts on the Constitution to students.