We talk about a variety of controversial constitutional issues -- from the new health care mandate to gun control -- with the 2012 candidates for Virginia's Ninth Congressional District, incumbent Morgan Griffith, a Republican, and challenger Anthony Flaccavento, a Democrat.
The two candidates have constitutional perspectives that are very respresentative of their respective parties. In fact, we're willing to bet that, wherever you live, you have - or will one day - face a similar choice of constitutional philosophies in your district's congressional race.
Of course, the 2012 race is over now, and the winner of the Fightin' Ninth was . . . .
The Founders thought this! The Framers said that!
You've heard such statements. In fact, it sometimes seems that everyone who has a strong opinion about the Constitution tries to enlist the Framers as allies. But how many modern pundits have actually done their homework? Are their claims about the Framers accurate?
Well, here's one fellow who has done the research: Michael Meyerson of the University of Baltimore's School of Law. Mike has gone back and actually read what several of the most prominent Framers said, wrote and did on the subject of church-state relations - people like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and, of course, James Madison. And Mike tells us all about it in a lively, entertaining way. We had a great time speaking with him, and we guarantee that you'll enjoy him as much as we did.
And once you've listened, you can tell all of your friends what the most important Framers really thought about church-state relations.
Git along there, little dogies -- it's our annual Roundup of interesting and important cases on the docket of the United States Supreme Court.
Grab your ropes, saddle up and join Professors Judie Barger, Pat Baker, Charlie Condon, Kendall Issac, Buzz Belleville and Doug McKechnie as they pick six fascinating cases to discuss with your host, Stewart Harris. It's a good 'un.
Whatever happened to the ERA? You remember - the Equal Rights Amendment. Angry women. Angry men. Disco. Hey, it was the '70's.
We'll talk to Wanda Sobieski, the same Knoxville attorney who did such a great job telling us about women's suffrage and the 19th Amendment awhile back. Wanda gives us the big picture, as well as a fascinating tale of personal involvement in one of the great constitutional questions of our time.
That's what Alexander Hamilton once called the Articles of Confederation - imbecilic. And that's why he wanted to throw out the Articles in their entirety and start fresh with what ultimately became our current Constitution. Sandy Levinson, a distinguished law professor from the University of Texas, doesn't want to throw out our whole Constitution, but he thinks that some parts of it are definitely worth changing. And we're not talking little stuff here - he goes right after the basics, even revisiting some of the very issues that were hotly debated during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Hey, that's why we have an amendment process, right?
Who ya gonna vote for in November? Mitt? Barack?
That's a political question. Here's a constitutional question: will your vote matter? Or is your state so reliably Red or Blue that your vote will be buried beneath an avalanche of the other party's votes?
We'll talk about the constitutional institution at the heart of such questions: the Electoral College. We'll hear from someone who supports the College as a protection of state sovereignty. And we'll hear from someone who doesn't like the College at all, and who has a plan for effectively abolishing it -- without amending the Constitution.
[Please note that there is about 24 seconds of blank audio before this episode begins. Sorry about that. We could have fixed it, but we didn't want to wait any longer before posting this podcast, which has already been delayed by technical issues at WETS. Even radio stations occasionally have computer problems.]
If you're a parent, the government of your state probably requires you to vaccinate your children for a variety of illnesses before you can enroll them in school. Can the government do that? Or should parents have a constitutional right to refuse to have their children vaccinated?
This has been an issue for at least a century, when the United States waged its ultimately successful war on smallpox. In some cases, those who resisted vaccination against that dread disease were handcuffed and forced to submit at gunpoint.
We'll talk to Professor Michael Willrich of Brandeis University, who has written a fascinating book about this little-known story: Pox: An American History.
We'll also talk to Mark Blaxill, a concerned parent who questions modern compulsory vaccination. Mark has also written a book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine and a Manmade Epidemic. Should parents like him have a right to refuse to have their children vaccinated? Or should the state have the power to compel them?
We talk a lot about current constitutional issues on this show. We also talk a lot about history. And sometimes, we pause, take a deep breath, and talk about Big Ideas - note the capital letters.
That's what a group of scholars did recently at Montpelier's Center for the Constitution, and our host, Stewart Harris, was among them. He shares a conversation he had with another conference participant, Brad Rourke, about two big issues in constitutional theory: political participation and political ethics. We also hear from Doug Smith, the Executive Director of the Center for the Constitution, about why such conferences are important.
It will blow your mind.
Rumor has it that Chief Justice John Roberts switched his vote at the last minute on the Affordable Care Act decision. And some conservatives are none too happy about it. They're calling him all kinds of unpleasant names.
But did the Chief Justice actually switch his vote? And if so, so what?
We'll talk to former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Penny White and to Professor George Kuney, two distinguished professors at the University of Tennessee College of Law. They'll tell us all about how appellate courts work, and what (might have) happened just before the decision on "Obamacare" was handed down.
What does wine have to do with the United States Constitution? Well, as it turns out, it has much more to do with our constitutional history than (hic!) you'd think.
We have a fascinating discussion with Maja Djorčev, a graduate student studying wine geography, who tells us all about this obscure, flavorful, potent brown wine, which was once all but extinct.