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Your Weekly Constitutional
You are a part of the American Experiment.
Category: News & Politics
Location: Virginia, USA
Produced in partnership with James Madison's Montpelier, Your Weekly Constitutional is a public radio show featuring lively discussion of controversial constitutional topics, from Gay Rights to Gun Rights. Find us on Facebook and iTunes!
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We are a radio show about interesting and controversial issues involving the United States Constitution, issues like Gay Rights...


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July 01, 2016 12:05 PM PDT

We tend to think of constitutional cases as happening “out there, somewhere.” But they can arise anywhere the Constitution applies, and it applies everywhere in the United States – including in your own back yard.

Recently, a significant constitutional case arose in our back yard, and a local attorney, Dennis Jones, took it all the way to the Supreme Court – assisted by three of Stewart’s law students.

June 26, 2016 08:25 AM PDT

If any institution should value and protect free speech, it is the university. After all, isn’t that what colleges and universities are for? Free inquiry and free exchange of ideas? And, in the case of state institutions, there’s that pesky First Amendment thing, too.

But lately, some people are calling for restrictions on speech at universities, even attempting to punish those with whom they disagree. Remarkably, some faculty members have joined in this attempt, including, most notably, Melissa Click, a former teacher -- of journalism! -- at the University of Missouri.

What is happening on our college campuses? Time to call in our First Amendment Guy, Doug McKechnie

June 17, 2016 07:38 AM PDT

Most of us have heard about the trans-Atlantic slave trade, one of the worst aspects of African-American slavery. But what happened to enslaved Africans once they reached the East Coast of the United States?

As it turns out, many of them still had a long way to go, into the even worse conditions in the interior of the Deep South, along routes that author Edward Ball calls “The Slave Trail of Tears.”

Join us for a disturbing, but riveting, discussion of this little-known chapter of American constitutional history.

June 11, 2016 08:21 AM PDT

Once upon a time, the idea of a woman serving on the United States Supreme Court seemed strange, perhaps unattainable. Then along came Sandra Day O’Connor, and, a few years later, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The Court, and the nation, haven’t been the same since.

This week, author Linda Hirshman will tell us all about it. Her new book about the High Court’s first two female Justices and their personal and professional relationships is called Sisters-in-Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World.

June 03, 2016 11:53 AM PDT

It sometimes seems that all constitutional interpretation emanates from one place, and one place only: the United States Supreme Court. But while it’s true that the Court is the final authority on the Constitution, it’s also true that the rest of us have something to say about it.

Indeed, David Cole, of the Georgetown University Law Center, insists that we have a lot to say about it, and that grassroots efforts to change the interpretation of the Constitution are the real “Engines of Liberty."

May 27, 2016 08:15 AM PDT

Remember the fellow who challenged the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance?

His name is Michael Newdow, and he’s at it again, this time challenging the placement of “In God We Trust” on our currency. He’s filed a number of lawsuits, which have drawn a great deal of criticism. Among his critics is Mathew Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and former dean of Liberty University’s law school.

We’ll talk to both Mike and Mat, two articulate advocates for two very different constitutional perspectives.

May 21, 2016 04:16 AM PDT

This week, we continue our discussion of Brexit – the proposed exit of Britain from the European Union – with Northumbria University law professor William Walton and his student, Melissa Davis, who just happens to also be a city councillor in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We then broaden our discussion, both in terms of topics and participants, by inviting some of William’s other law students into the studio. These young Britons have much to say, not only about Brexit, but about the differences between British and American constitutionalism – think guns and law enforcement – as well as the similarities – think “devolution” of power to regions of Britain, as compared with “states’ rights” arguments in the United States. Join us for a variety of youthful perspectives and remarkable accents.

May 14, 2016 10:28 AM PDT

You’ve heard of something called “Brexit,” but what is it?

Turns out, Brexit is shorthand for the possibility of a British exit from the European Union. Britons will soon vote on Brexit, and the polls show the election too close to call.

Such an exit, if it occurs, will have major constitutional implications for the United Kingdom, and a major impact on the rest of the world, including the United States. Good thing we’ve got Northumbria University law professor William Walton to explain it all to us. William is joined by one of his students, Melissa Davis, who is also a city councillor in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

In Part II, we'll talk to several other of William's law students. These young people have some definite opinions on a wide range of subjects, including, of course, Brexit. So stay tuned.

May 08, 2016 12:15 PM PDT

There aren’t many Nazi war criminals left to punish. But one of the last to be brought to justice is also among the most fascinating.

Join us as Lawrence Douglas, a professor at Amherst, tells us all about the man at the center of this strange and surprising case. Lawrence is the author of "The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial."

April 29, 2016 03:00 AM PDT

What's going on in North Carolina? Paypal is cancelling expansion plans, other state governments are refusing to visit, and Bruce Springsteen -- Springsteen! -- has cancelled a concert.

Apparently, our good friends in NC are now at ground zero in the culture war, which increasingly pits rural Republicans against urban Democrats. The city of Charlotte passed an antidiscrimination ordinance protecting LGBT rights, and the state called a special legislative session to repeal it. Governor McCrory immediately signed the repeal statute. Apparently, the big issue is the use of public bathrooms by transgendered people. Oh, boy . . . or, perhaps we should say, oh, girl . . . .

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