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Local Judge to Lecture at Juniata on U.S. Constitution; Movie Event Follows

(Posted September 18, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A constitutional lecture by a U.S. magistrate judge, followed by a screening of the classic \"Constitutional crisis\" movie \"Seven Days in May\" will be Juniata College\'s program for Constitution Day on Sept. 18. U.S. Magistrate judge Keith Pesto, based in Altoona, Pa., will speak on \"The Constitution: Out of Balance\" at 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18 in Room 222 of Good Hall. Following the lecture, the 1964 Cold War classic \"Seven Days in May\" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. The lecture and the film are free and open to the public. Magistrate Judge Pesto, a native of Baltimore, Md., earned a bachelor\'s degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1980. He went on to earn his law degree in 1983 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He entered private practice in Philadelphia and then spent two years (1985-86) clerking for Judge D. Brooks Smith for the Court of Common Pleas of Blair County. He was a member of the District Attorney\'s office in Blair County from 1986 to 1988, followed by a clerkship with Judge Smith for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1988 to 1994. Pesto was appointed magistrate judge in 1994. \"Seven Days in May,\" directed by John Frankenheimer, stars Fredric March, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Ava Gardner. The film depicts a fictional scenario set 10 years in the future in 1974 when President Jordan Lyman (played by March) decides to sign a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. As debate rages over the treaty, a Marine colonel (Kirk Douglas) uncovers a conspiracy led by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Burt Lancaster, playing an Air Force general) to stage a coup d\'etat to remove the President and the cabinet. Douglas\' character alerts the President to the plot and the film works against the clock to derail the constitutional crisis. The movie mirrors some Cold War history. The charismatic Air Force general played by Lancaster is inspired by legendary Strategic Air Command commander Curtis LeMay, and the underground headquarters of the conspirators is based on the emergency underground headquarters for the U.S. government in Mount Weather in Virginia.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.