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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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January 31, 2014 06:58 AM PST

You've heard of Thomas Jefferson. You've heard of Monticello. Perhaps you've even visited Jefferson's famous plantation. But did you know that our third President had another home, a secret hideaway deep in the forests of western Virginia, where he could escape the madding crowds that descended upon him at Monticello?

No? Never heard of Poplar Forest? Well that was kind of the point, wasn't it?

But we love visiting historical sites and sharing their secrets with you. So please join us as we visit Poplar Forest, T. Jeffy's secret man-cave.

January 29, 2014 07:07 AM PST

This week's episode is all about blueberry soup. Whaaa? Oh, sorry for the confusion -- blueberry soup is Icelandic comfort food. Think chicken and dumplings, or perhaps grits.

But, again: whaaa?

This week we're talking about Iceland. Why? Because in the wake of the recent financial crisis, Iceland had itself a full-blown, grass-roots constitutional reform process. And documentary filmmaker Eileen Jarrett was there. And now she'll tell us all about it.

Join us!

January 17, 2014 06:19 AM PST

In a 2012 poll, the Pew Research Center noted that almost 20% of Americans responded to a question about their religious affiliation with "none of the above." That's the highest percentage in history. And it may change the way we interpret the Religion Clauses of the Constitution.

We'll talk to Garrett Sheldon, a Southern Baptist minister and a member of the Political Science Department at the University of Virginia's College at Wise; we'll also speak with John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister and the host of Religion for Life, a public radio show produced at WETS, the same station that produces our show. Finally, we'll hear from a college student, Ben Harris, a second-year at the University of Virginia, who'll share his experience with the role of religion on campus.

Correction: our host, Stewart Harris, states twice in this episode that the Supreme Court is currently composed of five Roman Catholic Justices and four Jewish Justices. The actual number is six Roman Catholics and three Jews. We regret the error.

January 10, 2014 06:50 AM PST

Our good friend Ed Kelly is quite a storyteller, which makes sense, given the wide range of interesting cases he deals with as the general counsel of East Tennessee State University, where our show is produced.

In our fascinating interview, we focus upon Ed's many constitutional cases, which run the gamut from free speech to due process - and also upon some interesting stories from Ed's checkered past.

Join us!

June 10, 2011 01:11 PM PDT

You've probably heard variations on the term "strict constructionism," typically when a politician calls himself a "strict constructionist." But what, precisely, do these terms mean? Do they provide a roadmap to interpreting the Constitution? Or are they just labels that - strictly speaking - don't mean much?

It turns out that the answer is not so simple. Indeed, over the past couple of centuries, "strict constructionism" has meant different things at different times and to different people. Good thing that we've got Joe Lane, Chair of the Political Science Department at Emory & Henry College, to explain it all to us.

June 10, 2011 01:09 PM PDT

Somebody had to. We talk to Richard Beeman, author of the best-selling book "Plain Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution."

July 04, 2012 08:06 AM PDT

It's been more than 150 years, and people are still debating the question.

We'll talk to Donnie Kennedy, co-author of "The South was Right!" who thinks that much more than slavery was at issue.

We'll also talk to James Loewen, who quotes the explanations provided by seceding states themselves in his book, "The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The 'Great Truth' About the 'Lost Cause.'"

So saddle up and join us.

June 15, 2011 05:03 AM PDT

Does Intelligent Design belong in public school biology classes? What is "Intelligent Design" anyway? And how does it relate to evolution? And what does the Constitution have to say about it?

We'll talk to one of the lawyers who argued the famous Dover v. Kitzmiller case, in which this very issue was put to the test. It was the second great "Monkey Trial," and this time, a federal court decided that . . . . well, you'll just have to listen to find out.

December 06, 2013 10:46 AM PST

You've heard of the famous plot to kill Hitler in 1944, code-named Valkyrie. But did you know that the last of the Valkyrie plotters only recently died? His name was Ewald von Kleist, and we'll be talking about him with one of his American relatives, Eric von Kleist. It turns out that the von Kleists, an old aristocratic family from what is now Poland, were anti-Nazi before anti-Nazi was cool. And their adventures make quite a cool story.

November 29, 2013 06:02 AM PST

Never heard of John Bingham? That's a shame. He shouldn't be mysterious at all. For while Thomas Jefferson claimed that "all men are created equal," John Bingham actually wrote equality into the Constitution.

What a novel idea.

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