Constitution Day 2018

Constitution Day Lecture: Bringing Mathematical Rigor to the Courtroom

In February 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Pennsylvania's Congressional districting to be an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, leading to the adoption of new map for the 2018 midterm elections.  In this talk, Professor Pegden will discuss one kind of evidence which the court used to reach this conclusion.  In particular, he will discuss a theorem that allows us to use randomness to detect gerrymandering of Congressional districtings in a statistically rigorous way, and, more generally, the ways in which mathematics can hope to productively interact with the law.

The University Libraries' first edition copy of the Bill of Rights will be on display for this event. A reception will follow the lecture. Presented by the University Libraries and the Division of Student Affairs.

About the speaker:

Wes Pegden is a Carnegie Mellon University Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, who works on Probability and Discrete Mathematics.  Together with Maria Chikina and Alan Frieze, he developed rigorous ways of evaluating political maps for gerrymandering, and based on these methods, he testified as an expert witness in the recent lawsuit which resulted in a new Congressional districting of Pennsylvania.


Constitution Day Voter Registration Drive

Before the lecture, come visit Hunt Library and Sorrells Library on Monday, September 17, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and register to vote for the November 6th midterm elections! All you need to do is fill out an electronic or paper form – we'll even mail it for you! We’ll also have information on how to check if you’re already registered, signing up for an absentee ballot and information about ways to get involved on campus. Student voting guide: This event is nonpartisan and does not endorse a particular candidate, but rather encourages participation in our democracy. 

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