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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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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.

February 18, 2017 09:23 AM PST

Every year it seems that more states legalize marijuana in one form or another. Could the national government be next? Or have the recent elections stopped the progress of legalization efforts?

We’ll speak with Howard Wooldridge, of Citizens Against Prohibition, as well as Scott Chipman, a spokesperson from CALM, Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana. We'll also hear from Robert Mikos of Vanderbilt University, who spoke to us about the constitutional issues back in 2013.

February 15, 2017 04:20 AM PST

As we've discussed before, Patrick Henry was more than just one speech. Indeed, he played an important role in protecting our liberties long after the Revolution was over, especially when the First Amendment was under assault.

Author John Rogasta tells us all about it.

February 04, 2017 06:38 AM PST

Ever heard of the Privilege and Immunities Clauses? Yep, there are two of them, and if they seem obscure to you, well you're not alone. The Supreme Court has interpreted them very narrowly - some would say "almost out of existence."

Akram Faiser, a professor at Lincoln Memorial University's Duncan School of Law, who holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship, wants to change that. He wants to interpret the Privilege and Immunities Clauses as broadly protecting American democracy by limiting wealth inequality and its political consequences.

Hmm, does that remind you of somewhere? Perhaps Canada? Eh?

January 29, 2017 06:34 AM PST

Our new President has called for jail time, and perhaps a loss of citizenship, for Americans who burn the American flag.

Would such punishments be constitutional? Or would that pesky First Amendment get in the way? We’ll talk to our First Amendment Guy, Doug McKechnie, about this (ahem) fiery constitutional issue.

January 16, 2017 02:29 PM PST

Would you like to talk to a former President? How about a former First Lady or Secretary of State? Think you might learn something?

This week we're talking about a place called the Miller Center of the University of Virginia, which has a very important mission: recording oral histories of each American presidency since Jimmy Carter’s.

We’ll speak with the Miller Center’s Russell Riley, who has recorded dozens of interviews with influential people in several different presidential administrations, and who will share some of the fascinating stuff he's learned with us.

January 07, 2017 08:05 AM PST

In 2016, for the second time in sixteen years, a presidential candidate prevailed in the Electoral College while losing the popular vote – this time by a margin of roughly three million votes. Is it time to change our method of electing presidents?

Constitutional lawyer and historian David O. Stewart thinks so, and he’s decided to devote himself to a constitutional reform movement called the National Popular Vote Initiative.

Can we reform our electoral system without amending our Constitution? Should we?

December 30, 2016 12:33 PM PST

We’ve talked about women’s suffrage many times before (check the rest of our podcast site if you don’t believe us). But this is the first episode in which we discuss a play about the 19th Amendment – a musical play, no less.

Our guest is Catherine Bush, the playwright-in-residence at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, who tells us all about her acclaimed and historically-accurate production of “Winter Wheat.”

December 23, 2016 09:37 AM PST

We all learned in grade school that Abraham Lincoln “saved the Union.” But, in saving our nation, did he destroy our Constitution?

He did some pretty extreme things, after all, from suspending habeas corpus to signing the Emancipation Proclamation. Were his actions constitutionally justified, or not?

Join us for a fascinating discussion with Daniel Farber, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and who presented this year’s R. Gerald McMurtry Lecture at Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law.

December 16, 2016 01:57 PM PST

If you’ve ever been in far western Kentucky, near Hopkinsville, you may have noticed something strange rising from the cornfields: it looks like the Washington Monument, but it’s not.

It is, in fact, a monument, but not to George Washington. This particular edifice memorializes a man whom we might consider the anti-Washington: Jefferson Davis, the first President of the Confederate States of America.

Stewart recently visited the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site and spoke with Ron Sydnor, its manager. Another surprise: Mr. Sydnor is African-American.

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