How much do you know about President William Howard Taft?
We thought so. And, no, he didn't get stuck in his bathtub.
He's actually notable for something else entirely: he's the only person to have served as both President and Chief Justice of the United States. Yeah, beats the bathtub story, doesn't it?
We'll give you the facts, courtesy of the friendly staff at the Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati, where Stewart and his son Tom recently went for a visit. Join us!
Where does money come from? What is "the gold standard?" And, while we're at it -- what exactly is money?
More to the point, what does the Constitution have to say about all of this? Quite a bit, it turns out. And at times in our constitutional history, Congress's power to "coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin" has been front and center on the political and economic agenda.
We'll speak with UC-Davis historian Eric Rauchway about his new book, "The Money Makers," which takes us back all the way to the Great Depression and a couple of fellows named Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Maynard Keynes.
Kermit Roosevelt, constitutional scholar, author and scion of one of America's most important political dynasties, has written a new novel that combines his interest in constitutional history and good storytelling.
If you're a regular listener, the subject is already familiar to you: the incarceration of over 100,000 innocent Americans of Japanese descent in concentration camps during World War II. The book, called "Allegiance," is set mostly at the Supreme Court, where Kermit served as a clerk, and at the Tule Lake camp, where "troublemakers" were confined. It's serious fiction, but it's also fun; there's even a murder mystery. But don't worry -- we won't give away the ending.
Boston University journalism Professor Dick Lehr has written a new book about a film that is perhaps the greatest in American history - and the most racist. Is censorship justified in such a situation, where great art is created for a terrible cause? It's been a century, and we're still arguing about that one. Join us for a fascinating historical discussion with great current relevance.
And then, just for good measure, we'll have an update on the Declaration Project from our good friend, Chris Phillips, author of Democracy Café. This time, Chris isn't content with rousing the over-21 rabble -- he wants to empower children, too.
Teenagers of the world, unite!
Prior to fetal viability, a state may regulate abortions just like any other medical procedure -- so long as the regulation in question does not place an "undue burden" on a woman's reproductive rights.
But what, exactly, constitutes an "undue burden?" A number of states have recently enacted pre-viability medical regulations, and some of those regulations have been challenged. Indeed, a closely-watched case from Texas is now before the United States Supreme Court.
Join Stewart and Doug McKechnie of the U.S. Air Force Academy's law department as they discuss this complex and controversial area of constitutional law.
Entertainment lawyer Jeremy Geltzer has written a fascinating book about the history of film censorship in the United States. It's called "Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures: Film and the First Amendment."
This episode has generated a lot of (positive) online commentary. We don't actually use any dirty words in it, but the topic is mature, so it may not be appropriate for younger or more sensitive listeners.
But the rest of you will enjoy the, um, heck out of it.
'Tis the season for giving gifts, and we know you have lots of readers on your holiday list. So here are two suggestions:
"The Wilson Deception" is a fast-paced thriller set during the 1919 negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles. It is the second in a series by lawyer and author David O. Stewart (the first was called "The Lincoln Deception") who writes both historical novels and works of history. He's been on the show before, discussing his book, "Madison's Gift."
"Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning" by Yale historian Timothy Snyder is a more serious work that is focused upon the Holocaust as it unfolded upon the fertile soil of Ukraine. Professor Snyder emphasis the environmental aspects of Hitler's motivations and actions and draws lessons that are highly relevant today.
We've previously discussed the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Several times.
This time, on a trip to California, Stewart and his older son, Tom, visit one of the places our fellow Americans were incarcerated, without due process, simply because of their ethnicity: Manzanar, an American Concentration Camp.
Religious freedom is guaranteed by our First Amendment. Why? Because theocracies do bad things. Very bad things.
Recently, hundreds of girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram, which is trying to set up a fundamentalist Islamist theocracy in Nigeria. Precious few of these girls have escaped. This week, Stewart talks with one of them.
Join Stewart as he talks to two of his colleagues from the University of Tennessee about two surprisingly constitutional areas of the law: copyright and antitrust.
First, Gary Pulsinelli tells us about the '60's band "The Turtles" and its long-running battle over control of its songs, a battle that may have consequences that go far beyond whether you agree that, gee, Eleanor is swell.
Then Brian Krumm tells us how both federal antitrust law and state regulatory law may figure prominently in the proposed merger of two healthcare giants in Northeast Tennessee, the Wellmont Health System and the Mountain States Health Alliance. Such mergers are being proposed all over the United States, so this is much more than just a local issue.