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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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May 31, 2013 05:36 AM PDT

We talk with writer Joan Gage about Elizabeth Keckley, a largely-forgotten woman who rose from slavery to become a seamstress and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, and who wrote a memoir of her remarkable life.

And attorney Joanie Burroughs tells us about Beate Gordon, who almost single-handedly wrote women's rights into the Japanese Constitution after World War II.

May 24, 2013 04:17 AM PDT

Memorial Day, 2013 is almost upon us. We here at YWC are profoundly grateful to our military servicemen and servicewomen, who promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic - and who often die fulfilling that solemn oath.

Here's a story that will bring tears to your eyes.

May 17, 2013 04:57 AM PDT

There are lots of bad guys out there. And lots of people who could be bad guys. And other guys . . . well, we're not so sure about them.

But can the President simply make a list, sit down in his big chair in the Oval Office, and decide which of these alleged bad guys to kill?

We speak with David Adler, the Director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University, an expert on presidential power. David takes us on a fascinating journey, concentrating on the way executive power has dramatically increased during and after the Cold War, and especially after 9/11.

You'll want to listen to this one. In the meantime, don't make the President mad.

May 10, 2013 10:40 AM PDT

James Madison knew that only an educated citizenry could govern itself while preserving its essential freedoms. He spent much of his life building such a citizenry in America.

Today, the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier carries on Madison's work in a variety of ways and through a variety of media -- including this radio show. Another way is through the Montpelier Seminars, residential programs in which teachers, judges, police officers and others learn about our constitutional history and values at the very place where Madison lived and worked. We'll talk to Professor David Marion, who recently led a Montpelier Seminar on the Bill of Rights.

It's a noble effort.

May 03, 2013 05:26 AM PDT

Well, we spent last week beating up on Thomas Jefferson, so this week . . . we're going to beat up on him some more. We finish our conversation with Paul Finkelman of Albany Law School, who discusses not only Jefferson's hypocrisy over the slavery issue, but his deep racism and his illicit relationship with his slave Sally Hemings.

After we finish our discussion with Paul, we have a first: an appeal of Constitutional Quiz! Actually, for you lawyers out there, it's more like a filing of an amicus brief by a third party, a professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, Jim Melcher. Jim thought that Eric, a contestant who failed to win a T-shirt some time ago, had actually given the correct answer to a quiz, while our preferred answer was actually wrong. After a full and fair hearing on the merits, the decision of the appellate panel was . . . .

April 30, 2013 02:12 PM PDT

Who? What? Are we talking about Thomas Jefferson? You bet.

There is an ongoing debate among historians (and other people, lots of other people) about old Tom's place in American history. Everyone admires the Declaration of Independence and "all men are created equal." But then there's that slavery thing. Ouch.

We'll talk with Paul Finkelman, author of "Slavery and the Founders," who is among Jefferson's harsher critics. Paul doesn't pull any punches. But don't worry, this is just one conversation among many that we've had, and will have again, about a remarkable, contradictory man who is arguably our most troubling Founder.

April 18, 2013 05:05 PM PDT

Who are those guys?

You've heard of them - the United States Attorneys. They sound pretty important. But who are they, and what do they do? Quite a lot, it turns out. And a lot of what they do involves the Constitution, starting out with their appointment by the President and their extensive and arduous confirmation process before the United States Senate.

We talk to two of these powerful government officials: Tim Heaphy, from the Western District of Virginia; and Bill Killian, from the Eastern District of Tennessee. Tim and Bill tell us about their duties, their backgrounds, and how they came to occupy these important positions. And, yes, they share lots of good war stories.

April 12, 2013 05:53 AM PDT

We continue our discussion with actor Fred Morsell, who has portrayed Frederick Douglass for 30 years.

In Part I we discussed Douglass's early life and his escape from slavery. In Part II we discuss his activities as an abolitionist, newspaper publisher, advocate for women's rights, author and public speaker.

Join us!

April 06, 2013 08:06 AM PDT

Slavery was the original sin in our Constitution. This is the story of a man who helped us to recognize that sin and, ultimately, destroy it.

We'll talk to Fred Morsell, an actor who has portrayed Frederick Douglass for 30 years, and who knows so much about him that one episode of YWC is simply not enough. Part I covers Douglass's early life as a slave and his journey to freedom. Part II focuses upon Douglass the free man and abolitionist.

Please join us for a poignant, powerful American story.

March 31, 2013 06:52 PM PDT

D-u-u-u-de! Colorado and Washington State have legalized recreational marijuana! But don't get too excited - the feds still criminalize the wacky weed.

So what's a poor Washingtonian or Coloradan to do? We speak with Vanderbilt law professor Robert Mikos about this smokin' hot constitutional issue. We also get the latest from the trenches of the drug wars from Howard Wooldridge of Citizens Opposed to Prohibition (COPs).

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