"After receiving this draft constitution, and out of keenness to build the nation's institutions without delay or stalling, I will issue today the call for a public referendum on this draft charter on Saturday, Dec. 15," Morsi said. "I pray to God and hope that it will be a new day of democracy in Egypt."
Morsi urged those who opposed it to go out and vote. "With us all we build the nation," he said.
As he announced the date, more than 100,000 of his supporters danced and chanted in celebration as they gathered in one of Cairo's squares in support of efforts to rush through the draft charter.
The demonstrations - the largest turnout of Morsi supporters since he came to office in June - were seen as a show of strength for Islamists seeking to counter mass opposition protests held during the last week denouncing the president's decision to seize near-absolute power and the fast-tracking of the draft charter ahead of a Constitutional Court decision Sunday on whether to dissolve the panel.
Across the river, a few thousand of Morsi's opponents rallying in Cairo's Tahrir Square raised their shoes to show contempt for the announcement.
The referendum date placed the next move in the standoff in the hands of the Constitutional Court.
Judges, still smarting from Morsi's earlier decrees giving himself and the constitutional assembly immunity from judicial oversight, have threatened to boycott observing the referendum.
In his speech, Morsi appealed to the judges to carry out their duties, praising their national roles and adding that the state will not challenge their decisions or powers.
"I am sure that the judges of Egypt will be of help to their nation and people. No one can act outside legal legitimacy," he said in the official ceremony held for the delivery of the draft constitution attended by panel members, as well as Defense Minister Sheik al-Azhar, and the former prime minister picked by the military council that governed Egypt until Morsi's election.