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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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June 08, 2017 03:24 PM PDT

Whether they are called Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans, or American Indians, people whose ancestors lived in what is now the United States before the arrival of Europeans present a fundamental constitutional question: are they U.S. citizens, or are they members of a separate nation? Or are they, perhaps, both?

If they are, collectively, nations of some kind, what is the status of the various treaties they have negotiated with the U.S. Government over the past several hundred years?

Recently, David Wilkins, a professor at the University of Minnesota, taught a seminar at Montpelier on these very questions. But before he did, he sat down and spoke with Stewart about them.

June 02, 2017 12:01 AM PDT

Ever heard of Deuntay Diggs? He’s a Watch Commander at the Sheriff’s Office in Stafford County, Virginia. As part of his duties, he appears before school assemblies and other community groups as “The Dancing Deputy.” His videos have gone viral, garnering more than 40 million hits. Stewart met him at a recent seminar at Montpelier on the Fourth Amendment, which regulates police searches and seizures.

Deuntay and Stewart hit it off immediately. But it soon emerged that Deuntay’s sunny and enthusiastic personality hides a tragic personal story, which he shares in this compelling episode.

Join us!

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."

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