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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 25, 2014 09:09 AM PDT

Dolly Parton! Whaa?

It turns out that the country music superstar is a high school friend of the Chief Justice of Tennessee. His name is Gary Wade, and he tells us some fascinating stories about how he became the highest judicial officer in his state, what his job entails, and how he now faces a coordinated political attempt to have him removed from the bench, along with two of his Supreme Court colleagues.

On a happier note, he also tells us some great stories about his high-school friend and "television girlfriend," Dolly Parton. Do you know, for example, what instrument Dolly played in the Sevier County High School Band? Hint: it wasn't the flute. But you'll have to listen in to find out more.

July 18, 2014 05:13 AM PDT

Cloaks and daggers? Old news. Now it's keypads and iPads and other high-tech spying.

The United States and China both do it. But they do it differently - or so they say. Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, the Director of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies, tells us all about this secret struggle for security supremacy.

July 11, 2014 07:14 AM PDT

Here's the latest in our series about the judiciary. This time we speak with the kind of judge you are most likely to encounter if ever you find yourself in court: a trial judge. His name is Thomas Seeley, Jr., and he hears all types of civil cases in his courtroom in Johnson City, Tennessee. As you might expect, he's got lots of interesting stuff to say.

After Judge Seeley, we get in the car and drive down to North Carolina to visit the remarkable Grove Park Inn, a five-star resort frequented by Presidents and foreign diplomats and, perhaps, by another group of people you've heard of: the United States Supreme Court. Tracey Johnston-Crum, the Inn's resident historian, tells us all about a secret contract with the Court that provides that . . . well, you'll just have to listen in to find out.

July 04, 2014 10:39 AM PDT

The Good News Club is an after-school program run by evangelical Christians. A few years back, the Supreme Court ruled that public schools who had denied access to the Club for fear of violating the Establishment Clause had actually violated another part of the First Amendment, the Speech Clause. In essence, the Court said that all groups, religious and non-religious, were constitutionally entitled to equal access to public facilities - otherwise, the government would be regulating their speech based upon its content.

Author and journalist Katherine Stewart thinks that the Supreme Court got it wrong: the Good News Club, or rather, the public schools that now allow it on campus, are indeed violating the Establishment Clause, she believes. And whether you agree with her or not, she makes some interesting arguments and tells a compelling story.

May 30, 2014 07:54 AM PDT

Who are those guys? Those guys who sit on their high benches in federal courthouses, wielding their gavels and wearing those fancy black robes?

This is no idle question. Federal judges play an important role in interpreting our Constitution. And yet we know very little about them, since most of these men (and, increasingly, women) work quietly in their courtrooms and chambers and draw little attention to themselves.

In this episode, we change all that. With the help of United States District Judge Ronnie Greer of the Eastern District of Tennessee, we take a look into the judge's chambers and talk about all aspects of being on the federal bench. As it turns out, it's not as easy as it looks. But it is fascinating.

Join us!

May 27, 2014 02:20 AM PDT

Lots of people do a lot of writing about the United States Constitution. In this episode, Stewart talks to two of them: bestselling author Steve Berry, who has just published a new thriller, The Lincoln Myth, based upon a constitutional conspiracy, and Colin Christensen, one of Stewart's students from Emory & Henry College, who wrote his Honors Thesis on the Second Amendment.

Join us for some cracklin' good tales.

May 10, 2014 04:15 AM PDT

Still Running with the Devil . . . .

In Part II of this fascinating episode, we finish our discussion with Lucien Greaves, the Overlord of the Satanic Temple. He's the fellow who has been stirring up so much trouble down in Oklahoma with his statue of Baphomet, a winged, goat-headed demon with horns and wings and . . . well, you get the idea. It seems that Lucien's been stirring up trouble elsewhere, too, notably down in Florida, where he's held a rally hailing both Satan and Governor Rick Scott. Why are we not surprised?

When we finish with the Dark Side, we switch to a focus upon Goodness and Light by speaking with some of our friends at Montpelier. We start with Tiffany Cole of the Curatorial Department, who has some exciting new developments to share with us. And then we finish up with our buddy, Doug Smith, who is not only The Riddler, but who also runs the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution.

May 06, 2014 12:22 PM PDT

It's controversial enough when someone wants to put a Ten Commandments monument on the courthouse steps.

But what about a monument to Baphomet, a/k/a Satan?

Join us for a really hot episode.

April 25, 2014 07:44 AM PDT

The question of money in politics isn't new. But money in judicial selection? That's a relatively recent issue, and one that had a significant impact on (former) Justice Oliver Diaz of the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Joins us for a cautionary tale about judicial elections.

April 18, 2014 08:55 AM PDT

A friendship for the ages. One of the most important intellectual collaborations in human history. Fifty years of harmonious cooperation on profound issues of government and philosophy.

Lewis & Clark? Nah, they just wandered in the wilderness.

Lennon & McCartney? Nah, but we have to admit that Lennon was quite a philosopher, at least when he wasn't high.

We're talking about Jemmy & Jeffy, a/k/a James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. They weren't much for roughing it, and neither wrote any songs (that we know of) but their lifelong friendship produced some of the most important ideas in American constitutional history.

Professor Jeffry Morrison of Regent University and the James Madison Foundation tells us all about it.

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