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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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May 24, 2017 11:44 AM PDT

Have you ever heard of Pauli Murray? Didn’t think so. So it's a good thing that Rosalind Rosenberg, a historian at Barnard College, has written a new biography of this extraordinary and underappreciated woman.

Pauli Murray was black, transgender, and brilliant – so brilliant that she mapped out the legal strategy that Ruth Bader Ginsberg would use to convince the Supreme Court to apply the Equal Protection Clause to women.

Over decades, Pauli Murray struggled against just about every barrier that society could put in her way, and prevailed.

May 17, 2017 01:09 PM PDT

This is the continuation of the fascinating story behind an obscure, but vitally-important case from the early 1800’s, which helped define the American idea of a constitutional right.

William Davenport Mercer, a historian from the University of Tennessee, tells the turning, twisting, fascinating tale of a business owner’s attempt to obtain compensation for damage to his wharf, a case in which, unexpectedly, Andrew Jackson played a major role.

May 11, 2017 12:44 PM PDT

Some important constitutional cases grab your attention automatically – think Dred Scott or Roe v. Wade. Others don’t, but are equally important.

One such case is Barron v. Baltimore, which dealt, at least on the surface, with a claim by a wharf owner that the City of Baltimore had harmed his business. Sounds dull, right? But wait until you hear the story behind it, courtesy of William Davenport Mercer, a historian at the University of Tennessee.

April 09, 2017 06:54 AM PDT

The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier does many important things in addition to underwriting this radio show. Among the most important is its sponsorship of “Montpelier Summits,” which bring together governmental officials and other influential people to discuss current constitutional problems and strategies to fix them.

In this episode, Stewart interviews the moderators of a recent Summit: Lauren Bell, a Professor of Political Science and the Dean of Academic Affairs at Randolph-Macon College; and Paul Michel, the former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Lauren studies Congress from an academic perspective, after having spent some time in Washington herself. Paul not only served as a federal appellate judge, but earlier worked as an assistant and counsel to United States Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Join us for a wide-ranging and thoughtful discussion with two people who have been there and done that.

April 04, 2017 06:24 AM PDT

All across these United States, we put lots and lots of people in jail. Is that a good thing? Or are there costs, not all of them monetary, that we need to take into account?

John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham Law School, thinks that maybe, just maybe, there's a problem here that needs addressing. He’s written a book, "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform," in which he discusses both the problems with imprisoning so many people, and some ways to stop doing so much of it.

March 25, 2017 07:42 AM PDT

We’ve discussed free speech on campus before, focusing upon the threats posed by “political correctness.”

But are there other threats to free speech and academic freedom? You bet there are. And some of them emanate from state legislatures.

Stewart will discuss this troubling issue with Professor Donald P. Moynihan, the Director of the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

March 17, 2017 07:06 AM PDT

Sometimes we start an interview thinking that we’re going to talk about one thing, and then the conversation takes an unexpected turn.

Stewart recently spoke with Brian Klaas, a Fellow at the London School of Economics, expecting that they would discuss gerrymandering – and they did, eventually. But first the conversation veered down a dark path: the global rise of authoritarianism.

Brian's written a book about this disturbing subject. It's called "The Despot's Accomplice."

March 10, 2017 11:45 AM PST

What happens if the President dies or resigns? What happens if he goes, well, nuts?

Our original Constitution was a little bit vague on those subjects. Fortunately, 50 years ago, during the height of the Cold War, the 25th Amendment was ratified. It answered at least some of these pressing questions.

We’ll speak with someone who participated in its drafting, Professor John Feerick, the former Dean of Fordham Law School, who is also the author of the Pulitzer-Prize-nominated book, "The Twenty-Fifth Amendment: Its Complete History and Application."

March 04, 2017 11:49 AM PST

Abraham Lincoln saw us through the greatest constitutional crisis in our history. But he was more than 50 years old when he became our President. How did he spend the first half-century of his life? Mostly, he practiced law. And his law practice prepared him for the challenges to come.

Join us for a fascinating discussion with Steven Wilson, the Curator and Assistant Director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University.

February 25, 2017 07:17 AM PST

We’ve spoken with Elizabeth Dowling Taylor before, about her groundbreaking book “A Slave in the White House.”

Well, Beth has kept on writing, and this time she’s expanded her focus to the proud “colored aristocracy” that emerged in the United States after the Civil War. She focuses upon two of its members — Daniel Murray, the son of a former slave, who, in 1897, became chief of periodicals at the Library of Congress, and his wife, Anna, a descendant of one of John Brown’s raiders. Beth documents the inaugural balls they organized, the properties they owned, and their political efforts on behalf of their race.

She also chronicles their decline -- ultimately, their affluence, respectability, and light complexions couldn’t save them from the humiliations of Jim Crow.

Join us for a poignant glimpse into a largely forgotten era in our constitutional history.

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