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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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August 29, 2012 05:26 AM PDT

Modern warfare - again. But this time it's all about missiles and explosions and drones. Or, as the government calls them, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Who has the constitutional power to use these remarkable weapons? In places where there is no declared war? Against American citizens?

We talk to Scott Shane, a national security reporter for the New York Times.

August 18, 2012 09:36 AM PDT

No guns. No bombs. No explosions. Just a bunch of techno-nerds in a secret room, tapping away on their keyboards.

They can do a lot of damage. But can they commit acts of war? And just who has the constitutional power to authorize them to do so?

We talk to Professor Joseph S. Nye, former Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

August 10, 2012 10:07 AM PDT

Was James Madison a tree-hugger?

Although there are no historical photos showing him in a tie-died shirt or wearing Birkenstocks, he was quite a conservationist, as were many of the Founders.

We speak with Sandy Mudrinich, who cares for the grounds of Madison's living legacy, Montpelier.

August 03, 2012 01:04 PM PDT

We all know about the duel. It didn't turn out so well for Alexander Hamilton. But it didn't turn out very well for Aaron Burr, either.

What happened to Burr after the Interview at Weehawken? Quite a lot, it seems. Grandiose schemes of conquest. Conspiracy. And the most famous trial for treason in all of American History.

Listen in and find out how it all ended up.

July 27, 2012 10:53 AM PDT

The Ten Commandments. It seems that we've been arguing about them ever since Moses brought them down from the mountain. Lately, we've been arguing about whether posting them in public schools, public parks and other public spaces violates the First Amendment. It's one of those constitutional issues that just keeps coming back. Dare we call it - eternal?

Listen in and decide for yourself.

July 19, 2012 01:43 PM PDT

We all know that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves - or did he?

And if he did, well then, how did he do it? Where, precisely, would a president find the constitutional power to free slaves, which were then considered "property?" Doesn't the Fifth Amendment require compensation when the government takes our "property?"

We're confused. Fortunately, Paul Finkelman clears it all up for us. He's a great storyteller, and it's a fascinating tale. Tune in! Or, rather, download!

July 10, 2012 06:37 PM PDT

Habeas Corpus - "the ancient writ" -- enshrined in the Magna Carta and the United States Constitution. Literally translated, it is a command from a judge to a jailer stating, "Produce the body." The body in question is a prisoner, and the judge who issues such a writ is commanding the government to bring that prisoner into court and to justify his imprisonment.

Habeas Corpus is one of the greatest tools a free society has to resist government tyranny, and also the avenue of last resort for those charged with capital crimes. In this episode, we look at one such case, House v. Bell, from Tennessee, in which a man sat on death row for more than 20 years while lawyers used habeas proceedings to try to prove his innocence.

Rape and murder, guilt and innocence, conviction and . . . exoneration? Join us and find out.

June 29, 2012 07:28 AM PDT

Most of us pray. Many of us pray every day - at home, at work, at church, and in school. So what's the big deal about school prayer? Why have the courts put constitutional restrictions on it, at least in public schools?

We'll talk to former Congressman Bill Dannemeyer, who wants to see prayer back in public schools, and with Annie Laurie Gaylor, the Co-President of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who doesn't.

June 22, 2012 11:02 AM PDT

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and of the press. But a free press is of limited value without responsible and courageous journalists. Fortunately, such journalists exist, even in tiny little towns tucked away in the mountains. Join us for the story of two such journalists, Jonathan and Susan Austin of the Yancey County News.

June 13, 2012 03:30 PM PDT

Can the government put you in prison just for telling a lie? Even if no money is involved? Even if it's just an old war story?

What if you claim to be a hero? What if you didn't win that medal? What if you've never even served?

Not such an easy question, is it?

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