SUNY Canton and the Office of the St. Lawrence County Attorney will be hosting New York State Supreme Court Justice Vito C. Caruso for its Constitution Day celebration.
Caruso will be presenting “The Constitution, its Origins – and its Future” at 1 p.m. Friday (Sept. 16) in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center’s Kingston Theater. The event is free and open to the public and parking will be available in Lot 7 near French Hall.
“The Constitution, just those thin sheets of parchment, is all that that stands between us and anarchy and tyranny,” Caruso said. “Democracy and self-government are risky, but the experiment begun by our Founders some 250 years ago has proven, time and again, that the people are capable of governing themselves, that they can be trusted with the reins of power – and that our constitutions, state and federal, protect our cherished freedoms and individual liberties from encroachment by the government and the mob.”
SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran noted constitutional issues have been prominent in the platforms and speeches of both presidential candidates, which makes its interpretations especially important for informed voters.
“The Constitution is the source of our rights and freedoms as American citizens,” Szafran said. “We are extremely fortunate that Judge Caruso will be sharing his knowledge and expertise to help our students, faculty and staff familiarize themselves with this formative document.”
St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen D. Button expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming presentation.
“SUNY Canton affords the town of Canton and the surrounding communities of St. Lawrence County with wonderful opportunities to experience top-notch speakers with real world experience,” Button said. “St. Lawrence County is pleased to be a part of the program and welcomes Judge Caruso to the North Country.”
Caruso was elected to the New York State Supreme Court in 1994. He was appointed as administrative judge for the Fourth Judicial District in June, 2004. The Fourth Judicial District is comprised of 11 counties (including St. Lawrence County) and is the largest geographic district in the state.
He is a member of the New York State Bar Association, Schenectady County Bar Association, a board member of the New York State Greater Capital Chapter of the National Italian American Bar Association and a member of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court.
Caruso is a past district deputy of the New York State Elks Association, along with being a past exalted ruler and trustee of the Rotterdam Elks Lodge. He is also a member of the Order of Sons of Italy, Lodge 321, the Rotterdam Knights of Columbus, a former volunteer firefighter with Rotterdam District 2 Fire Company and a former chair of the Schenectady County Republican Committee. Justice Caruso is proud to have been the first recipient of the Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award of the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York.
He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Economics from SUNY New Paltz and began his legal career in 1973, serving as law clerk to Assemblyman Clark C. Wemple of Schenectady. He continued in that capacity until 1977, when he was admitted to the New York State Bar.
Constitution Day is celebrated Sept. 17, commemorating the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution. SUNY Canton holds at least one educational program corresponding with that day annually. In the past, the college has run essay and poster contests, and run voter registration drives.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as ten exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.