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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 11, 2017 06:06 AM PDT

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is designed to promote international understanding and peace. Fulbright scholarships are highly competitive and prestigious.

Stewart’s wife, Priscilla Harris, recently served as a Fulbright Scholar on the Faculty of Law at Vilnius University in Lithuania. Join us as Priscilla and VU’s Law Dean Tomas Davulis, tell us all about this remarkable program at a remarkable university.

July 07, 2017 05:37 AM PDT

Remember that old Eighties flick, Robocop? It was about a real cop who was killed in the line of duty, then resurrected as a cyborg.

How about the Terminator movies, where Arnold Schwarzenneger played a powerful robot from the future, who was either good or bad, depending upon which episode you’re watching. It’s all just science fiction, right?

Wrong. It’s about to become science fact, and it has profound implications for the Fourth Amendment. Melanie Reid, a professor at LMU’s Duncan School of Law, tells us all about it.

We're also joined by LibrariAnn, who tells us about several recent publications dealing with law and technology.

June 30, 2017 11:39 AM PDT

Abolition of slavery was not just a Civil War thing. Indeed, it has been an issue since long before our Constitution was written, and one group, the Quakers, was particularly outspoken about it.

Nicholas Wood, of Yale University, was recently at Montpelier to teach a seminar on early abolitionism, and Stewart sat down with him in the new Potter Studios.

June 21, 2017 01:53 PM PDT

Andrew Jackson is such a complicated figure, and such a major subject of current interest, that we’ve decided to do two episodes on him.

In Part I, we talked about Jackson’s early life, his legal career, and his rise to prominence in the War of 1812.

In Part II, we pick up the story as Jackson uses his military victories to propel himself all the way to the White House.

Dan Feller, the Editor of the Papers of Andrew Jackson, is our guide.

June 15, 2017 07:00 AM PDT

Old Hickory has been much in the news lately, with many people drawing comparisons between him and our current President. Indeed, Donald Trump recently visited Andrew Jackson’s historic home, The Hermitage, laid a wreath on Jackson’s grave and called himself a “big fan” of our seventh President.

Are such comparisons valid? And who was Andrew Jackson, anyway? These are complicated questions. Fortunately, Stewart was able to sit down and discuss them with Dan Feller, a history professor at the University of Tennessee who also happens to be the Editor of the Papers of Andrew Jackson. Dan knows so much about AJ that we had to split his fascinating interview into two parts.

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.

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