Justice Inherent in Our Inalienable Rights
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Regular followers of Constituting America understand the importance of this passage from the Declaration of Independence and our natural rights: rights given to us by God that can never be taken away. But take this a step further and you see how these inalienable rights begin to create our system of justice. Without natural rights, rights become merely a privilege and can be taken away…justly or unjustly. We are delighted to have Dr. Jason Stevens, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ashland University, joining our all-star student panel as we dig deeper into our natural rights to find our foundation of justice.
Justice in our Checks and Balances
Our federal government is divided into three branches and each branch has certain powers over the others. We identify this as separation of powers and checks and balances. What if all three powers were held in one set of hands? That government would be the definition of tyranny. Our founders knew government is both necessary and very dangerous so they created this system so today we can ensure equal protection of equal rights for all citizens. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Thomas Krannawitter, President of Speak Easy Ideas, and our all-star student panel for this discussion of checks and balances.
Lady Justice — Why the Blindfold?
The United States Supreme Court has various depictions of Lady Justice in and around the building. These depictions portray her with three items: a blindfold, scales and a sword. The blindfold and scales suggest the use of reason and logic in judicial judgement. The sword suggests the strength to carry out that judgement. Have you wondered how the concept of an independent judiciary furthers the separation of powers because one branch of government cannot be the judge in its own case? To elaborate further on these fascinating themes, we are delighted to have Richard Reinsch, Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies and AWC Family Foundation Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, join our all-star student panel for this insightful discussion.
The Conscience of America – the Declaration of Independence!
Regular followers of Constituting America understand our appreciation for the Declaration of Independence as one of the most groundbreaking documents ever written. Did you know this document was crafted as a logical argument listing both major and minor premises against the Crown making the case for colonial independence? It also illustrates three levels of justice: natural law, legal justice and what can best be described as justice related to conscience. Joining our all-star student panel, we are excited to have William Morrisey, former Professor at Hillsdale College returning as our special guest as we discuss this historic document as America’s conscience.
America’s Principle of Civic Duty
John Adams wrote, “Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence than the body can live and move without a soul.” To understand the need for civic duty, one must fully grasp civic virtue and to fully grasp civic virtue, one must have a civic education. Understanding the hows and whys of our governmental system is vital in knowing how we can best participate and contribute to that structure. We are excited to have Charles “Cully” Stimson, USN, Retired, returning as our special guest with our all-star student panel for this exciting and “virtuous” discussion.
America’s Principle of Meritocracy
Not very long ago, the circumstances to which you were born largely dictated the path your life took. If you were born into the aristocracy, you likely died the same way. If you were born into poverty, you likely died the same way. The United States ushered in a new era of thinking: meritocracy. It is this notion that a people should rise and fall based on their achievements and not the circumstances of their birth or membership in a social class. We take this for granted today, but this was a novel idea in the late 18th century. So what are the merits of a meritocracy? How does it foster innovation and hamper cronyism? To help us grasp this concept, we are delighted to welcome back our all-star student panel and Andrew Langer, President of Institute for Liberty, for this “meritorious” discussion.
America’s Principle of National Sovereignty
American sovereignty is such a fundamental ideal in the American experiment that it’s mentioned in both the opening and closing of the Declaration of Independence. Succinctly, sovereignty is the power to do something and shapes our ability as a people through our elected representatives to make decisions that are best for us. Why were the Founders so concerned with sovereignty? Why was it so necessary not just to win it but maintain it? We are pleased to have our student panel joined by returning guest Christopher C. Burkett, Director of the Ashbrook Scholar Program and Associate Professor of Political Science at Ashland University, to shed light on this vital concept.
America’s Principle of Constitutional Restraints
The Declaration of Independence so eloquently laid out “charges” against the Crown – detailing why independence was necessary. The test of the Constitution is whether or not it serves the goals and aims of the Declaration of Independence. In the Constitution, the Founders had to strike the proper balance of liberty and order as our new nation was leaving an oppressive government behind while at the same time providing stability for its citizens. In order to accomplish this lofty objective, our Founders needed to empower government but at the same time restrain it. Nearly 250 years into the American experiment, we are still working to create our “more perfect union.” Join our guest Constitutional expert Professor Paul Carrese, founding director of the School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, and our all-star student panel as we explore how we empower and restrain our government through checks and balances, separation of powers and federalism.
America’s Principle of Knowing Classical History
What can history teach us? Well…everything! Our Founding generation understood history and studied it when creating the framework for our country. From ancient city-states to the fall of empires, our Founders looked at what did and did not work in past governments. One can argue our current government, this great experiment in self-governing is an amalgamation of previous forms, choosing the best traits but leaving out the worst. Joining our all-star panel, we are pleased to have returning Joe Loconte, Senior Fellow at the Institute on Religion and Democracy and Senior Fellow at King’s College in New York, for this insightful and “historic” discussion.
America’s Principle of Providence
Americans love a good origin story. This love carries into the origin story of our country. Today, we are discussing the role of Providence and faith in the origin story of the United States. What role did religion have on our founders and how is that root belief carried on today? To help us unpack this topic, we are delighted to welcome Nathanael Blake, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and our all-star student panel for this “origin story” discussion.
America’s Principle of Self Governing
What is popular government? What do we mean when we say we are self-governing? In his 1863 Gettysburg Address, President Lincoln summarized it rather clearly: “…that government of the people, by the people, for the people…”. According to our guest, in those few word Lincoln answered who creates our government, who administers our government and for what purpose. Join our guest expert, Adam Carrington with Hillsdale College, and our all-star student panel for this informative discussion on popular government.
First Principles of the American Founding: The Declaration of Independence and Natural Law
In drafting the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson put a specific emphasis on natural law and weaved that theme throughout the entire document. While the Declaration of Independence did not create the new United States government. it severed ties with our previous government so a new one could be formed, and set out important principles upon which our new government would be based. What exactly is natural law, of which Jefferson so eloquently wrote? How do we “know” these “self-evident” truths? From what further historical inspiration did Jefferson derive the Declaration Independence? To help us unravel the philosophical foundation of this groundbreaking document, we are pleased to have Tony Williams, author and Senior Teaching Fellow at the Bill of Rights Institute, returning to join our student panel as we begin a new series on the timeless principles of the American founding.
The Communist Dictatorship of Cuba
It’s only about 100 miles from the southern tip of Florida, yet couldn’t be more different than its American neighbor. Cuba is yet another example of a revolution that promised change but then turned on its people to usher in a communist dictatorship. While Cuba has a constitution that enshrines rights, those rights are seldom recognized by the government. Article 56 of their constitution guarantees a right to assemble, demonstrate and associate but government dissidents are often jailed, tortured or disappear. Join our guest expert John Barsa, executive director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba and the former acting administrator for USAID, and our all-star student panel for further insight into our neighboring country.
The Communist Party of China vs. Our U.S. Constitution
Oppressive states and regimes run by a dictator have something in common; an iron grip on every aspect of their citizens’ lives. Basic freedoms-like speech, assembly, religion-don’t exist in these countries. As westerners, we read about these oppressions. But every now and then, we are able to hear a first-hand account of what happens inside these secretive governments. We are honored that today is one such day. Our guest is Chen Guangcheng. An activist and lawyer, Chen was beaten, jailed and placed under house arrest by the Chinese government. In April 2012, Chen escaped house arrest and was given refuge in the US embassy in Beijing. In May 2012, Chen and his family were granted US visas and they came to the United States. We are beyond excited to have Chen as our special guest, joining our all-star student panel, for this insightful and first-hand account into life inside the People’s Republic of China.
The Authoritarian Regime of Venezuela vs. Our U.S. Constitution
It was once the richest country in South America with the largest proven fossil-fuel reserves in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. In just 24 years, this country now sees over half its population living in poverty. In today’s chat, we are of course talking about Venezuela. Venezuela, which became socialist through a democratic election in 1999 when Hugo Chavez came to power, serves as a cautionary tale. For a deeper dive into what went wrong in Venezuela, we are pleased to have Daniel DivMartino as our returning guest along with our all-star student panel. Daniel is a native Venezuelan and graduate fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Join us for this fascinating discussion!
The Dictatorship of Russia vs. Our U.S. Constitution
It’s only existed for 31 years. It covers roughly 1/8 of all inhabitable landmass on earth with a population of 143 million. It has a constitution and a parliament but for 23 years, it has been ruled by one individual. Today, we are discussing the dictatorship of the Russian Federation and its ruler, Vladimir Putin. How did Putin come to power and consolidate his iron grip over his country following the dissolving of the Soviet Union in the 1990s? What strides towards democratization was the Soviet Union making? What is the status of basic civil liberties like freedom of speech, freedom to dissent and freedom to protest? For all of these answer and many more, join our all-star student panel and our special guest, Mark Kramer, Director of the Cold War Studies Project at the Davis Center at Harvard University, as we unpack the Russian Federation.
The Dictatorship of North Korea vs. Our U.S. Constitution
Look at a map of the Korean Peninsula at night. In the southern half of the peninsula, you will see pockets of bright lights denoting South Korea’s cities and population centers. In the northern part, you will see an expanse of a dark expanse with the occasional tiny light. That’s not an ocean or other body of water. That’s North Korea, an absolute dictatorship and one of, if not the most, isolated countries on Earth. How did this happen? Does North Korea have a Constitution? What is the relationship between the people and their government? What role does “juche” play in the lives of North Koreans? To help us understand this country, we are pleased to welcome Suzanne Scholte. Suzanne serves as President of the Defense Forum Foundation; Chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition; and Chairman of Free North Korea Radio. Thank you for joining Suzanne and our student panel for this eye-opening discussion on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The Absolute Monarchy of Saudi Arabia Vs. Our U.S. Constitution
In our previous chat, we discussed how Iran’s form of government is a republic in nature, similar to our own republic, but is decidedly authoritarian in substance. In today’s chat, we are discussing Saudi Arabia, a country that lacks those same institutions in favor of an absolute monarch. Leading a country of roughly 38 million, the Saudi king is the head of the ruling family that dates back over 300 years to the First Saudi State. What do you know about how this country was formed and how it is ruled? What type of legislative body does Saudi Arabia have and how are its legislators chosen? What role does Wahhabism play in every aspect of the Saudi government? How is this country looking towards the future through its Vision 2030 effort? To help us unpack these questions, we are delighted to have Ilan Berman, Senior Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC, join our all-star student panel for this exciting discussion.
Iran’s Authoritarian Regime Vs. Our U.S. Constitution
This country has a constitution which establishes an executive, legislature and judiciary. They have rights guaranteed under the law. No, we are not talking about the United States. Today we are discussing Iran. Although their Constitution May resemble ours, in practice, their government operates very very differently. Join us as we discover how and why and discuss just who the Ayatollah is, what is “Guardianship of Islamist Jurist and much more! Joining our panel is our guest speaker Dr. James S. Robbins, Academic Dean of the Institute for World Politics, writer for USA Today and Senior Fellow on the American Foreign Policy Council, for this insightful discussion on the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Artificial Intelligence & The Constitution
When you hear the term “Artificial Intelligence,” what comes to mind? Seemingly overnight, AI has become a topic of daily conversation with the rise of Chat GPT in 2022. But what exactly is AI? How can it be used? What are the Constitutional issues raised with AI? What are the potential effects on our civil rights and civil liberties? These are the questions we tackle in this week’s Constitutional Chat. Joining our all-star student panel, we are excited to welcome privacy and cyber-security expert Dan Caprio, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of the Providence Group to hep us unravel all things AI.
The State Department: Diplomatic Protection
The Department of Foreign Affairs started off as the first Department of the executive branch with 6 employees led by Thomas Jefferson in 1789. Now it’s called The United States State Department and employs 75,000 and maintains diplomatic relations with around 180 countries. But what do you know about this historic agency and the work it does around the world? What is its role in International diplomacy, national security and advancing US interests overseas? Why is it a good idea to register with the State Department when traveling overseas? And what is an Ambassador and how can you become one? To answer all of these questions and many more, we are delighted to have Former U. S. Ambassador to Estonia and President of the Institute of World Politics, Aldona Woś, joining our all-star student panel for this informative and insightful chat.
The Expansion of the IRS and You
Ben Franklin wrote in 1789, “…nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Our chat today is all about the IRS and our taxes. Last year, as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, Congress approved $80 billion in new IRS funding. How exactly is this money going to be spent? Will it lead to an increase in audits for everyday taxpayers? Why did Congress allocate this money related to reducing inflation? For these answers and so many more, join our all-star student panel and the Heritage Foundation’s Preston Brashers for this insightful chat on the “certainty” of the IRS.
The FBI, CIA & Homeland Security – and our National Security
Ever heard the term “alphabet agencies?” It often refers to various federal government agencies that have usually 3-letter names. Many of these are in the national security community: DHS, CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA, ODNI and many more. What exactly do you know about the various agencies and their mission? When were they formed and for what purpose? How did September 11th change the scope of their missions? We have a lot to unpack in this week’s chat. Joining our all-star student panel, we welcome Dustin Carmack, Research Fellow, Cybersecurity, Intelligence, and Emerging Technologies, Border Security and Immigration Center with the Heritage Foundation to help us understand these agencies and their role in national security.
The Financial Crisis and National Security – American Vulnerability
What exactly do you know about the debt and debt ceiling? What are they? Think of the debt ceiling like the credit limit on a credit card and the debt is the total sum of all that spending. In this analogy, wisdom would say spending should be kept to a minimum and the balance paid off in full each month. Unfortunately, this is not how our federal government operates and we routinely rack up debt future generations will have to pay off without their approval. We have been accruing national debt from the moment our country was born. In addition to our student panel, we are pleased to welcome Veronique de Rugy, the George Gibbs Chair in Political Economy and Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. Her writing and research focuses on the economy, taxation and the federal budget.
Social vs. Anti-Social Media – What Is The Government’s Role?
What would the Founders think of social media’s unlimited and instant communication across the country and around the world? Would they try to regulate it? From what authority could the Founders and subsequent government actually regulate social media? What are the main differences between social media entities and TV or radio which use public spectrum to broadcast? These are questions worth pondering as we discuss the government’s role in social media in today’s chat. We are honored to welcome our guest, Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel of NetChoice and Adjunct Professor of Internet Law at George Mason Antonin Scalia School of Law and our student panel for this informative and lively chat.
Fentanyl & the Border Crisis
We share a 1,951 mile border with Mexico and that border sees millions upon millions of border crossings involving people and vehicles. Seemingly on a daily basis in the news cycle, we hear news related to the border. In this week’s chat, we are honored to have two guests who have seen events unfold along the border in person: Former Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and Chairman of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Clint Hickman. In this wide-ranging chat, we discuss numerous topics ranging from legal and illegal immigration, ongoing violence, fentanyl, cartels and what our government can and should do in response. Thank you for joining our student panel and actress Janine Turner for this insightful and frank discussion.
TikTok, Balloons, China: What You Should Know
It has a population more than 4 times that of the United States. It produces goods and services we use in our daily lives. In our modern economy with the free-flow of information and high levels of technology, one must wonder the impact the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has on the global economy. Here’s an interesting point to ponder as we get into today’s discussion: China invents very little. That innovation comes from abroad. Yet the CCP has a near universal hold on the exchange of information within their country. How does the CCP manage to maintain this control? How did the cultural revolution in the 1960s and 1970s in China lay the groundwork for today’s level of control? How is a seemingly harmless app like TikTok used as a function of the CCP to push propaganda within China and abroad? To answer these questions, we are thrilled to have Steve Yates, Chair of the China Policy Initiative with the America First Policy Institute, join our all-star panel for this eye-opening discussion.
George Washington’s Leadership Secrets
His father died when was 11. His formal education ended at 14. By 17, he had mastered trigonometry and geometry and worked as a surveyor in the American West. Beyond that, he was a solider, leader and our country’s first President. Yet, among all of his extraordinary accomplishments, Washington showed our new country what leadership was and is. After victory in the revolutionary war, he resigned his military commission, rather than attempting to seize power. He led the Constitutional Convention by barely speaking a word. And at the end of his term as President, he walked away and allowed the Presidency to pass on to another. He showed us leadership traits in his ability to communicate, collaborate and be civil. He taught us the importance of trust in those who work under you and the need for humility. President Washington is the archetype of the modern leader and his influence runs directly through each of his presidential successors. Discussing the legacy of President Washington, we are thrilled to have an incredible leader joining our panel, Read Adm. (ret) Peter Cressy, Ed D a renowned expert on leadership. Joining the Admiral, we have our all-star panel returning to discuss the incredible leadership lessons of President Washington.
The U.S. Congress Today: Is Bipartisan Legislating Possible Anymore?
Political parties. President George Washington warned against the rise of political parties (then, the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists), going so far to say they could be used “to subvert the Power of the People” in his Farewell Address in 1796. In our current Congress, we have seen play out what Washington was warning us against. In this episode we are discussing bipartisanship and taking a look at just how feasible bipartisanship is in today’s political climate. We are thrilled to welcome two freshman members of congress: Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-MI) and Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY). Join our all-start student panel in this special episode as we discuss how these members of Congress have already worked together in Congress, how members interact with each other on the House floor and the future of bipartisan legislating!
The Oversight System
You won’t find Congress’ oversight and investigations power in the U.S. Constitution, but it’s one of the most important tools Congress has to do its job! Through Congressional Committees and their oversight and investigations work, Congress serves as a watchdog over the executive branch and researches national issues in need of legislative solutions. Today we discuss congressional oversight and investigation history going back to the first oversight hearing in 1791 over the Battle of the Wabash, to today, including some of the most high profile and contentious hearings in our nation’s history. Join us as we discuss how congressional oversight and investigations functions and from where it derives its power. We are happy to welcome back returning Constitutional expert Scot Faulkner, the first Chief Administrative Officer of the U.S. House of Representatives, and our all-star student panel for this insightful discussion.
The Committee System
Members of Congress legislate on a wide range of issues: education, energy, agricultural, space, finance, taxation, national defense, immigration, to name a few. Can we reasonably expect members to be well-versed in the particulars in each of these issues as they pertain to upcoming or pending legislation? Not likely. Enter the committee systems. Over 200 congressional committees and sub-committees exist to address these issues. We are discussing the history of these committees and how they are used in today’s political climate. We are honored to have Former Member of Congress Vin Weber joining our student panel for this insightful discussion.
Congress & The Constitution: The Leadership
There are 535 members of Congress: 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate. Each member has their own priorities and agenda. With so many differing priorities, how does anything get done? Enter party leadership. Regular Constituting America viewers know the roles of a U. S. Representative and Senator, but how much do you know about the congressional leadership? There’s a Speaker of the House, House and Senate Majority and Minority leaders, Majority and Minority Whips. There’s a President Pro Tempore in the Senate. What exactly do they do and how are they selected? Joining our student panel, we are excited to have Marc Lampkin, Capitol Hill veteran and aide to former House Speaker John Boehner, to help us understand how the congressional leadership functions.
History the U.S. Senate
What do you really know about the US Senate? You probably know there are 100 US Senators and they are elected every six years. And that there are two per state. But do you know why? The Senate has equal representation among the states for a reason that dates back to the Great Compromise of 1787 and is generally more prestigious than the US House of Representatives. We dive into each of these issues in today’s chat. We are pleased to have Katherine Scott, Associate Historian in the US Senate Historical Office, join our all-star student panel to discuss the how and why of the US Senate.
History the U.S. House of Representatives
It’s March 1789. You’ve been elected to serve your community as a member of Congress. You arrive at Federal Hall in New York City to begin your service. You are assigned a desk and…that’s it. No office. No support staff. It’s a far cry from today where members have staff and offices in DC and in their districts. We are continuing our discussion on Congress and the Constitution by discussing the history of the House of Representatives. Who better to discuss this history than the Historian of the United States House of Representatives Matt Wasniewski? We are excited to have Matt with us alongside our all-star student panel for this informative discussion!
Congress & The Constitution
435 members from all 50 states. Elected every two years. Created by Article I of the United States Constitution. Regular listeners of our podcast will know from these facts we are talking today about our U.S. House of Representatives. What does Congress do? How does it function? How well do members of Congress know the Constitution? Today we are kicking off a new series in which we will be discussing everything related to Congress and the Constitution! To kick off this series, we are excited to have 13-term Retired and former House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte as our guest constitutional expert, along with our all-star student panel.
Countdown To Bill of Rights Day – The Tenth Amendment – Reserved To The States Or The People
Once again, the Founders are showing off their talent to address complex issues succinctly in the Bill of Rights with the Tenth Amendment. At just 28 words, the 10th amendment has a profound impact on the side-by-side existence of federal law and state law. Simply put, powers not delegated federally are reserved to the states. Paraphrasing Madison assuaging the concerns of the Antifederalists in Federalist No. 45, the constitutional powers of the federal government are “few and defined” while the remaining powers to the states are “numerous and indefinite.” Thank you for joining our alll-star panel, including the return of Constituting America Founder, Actress Janine Turner, and our special guest, Dr. Jeffrey Sikkenga of The Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, as we wrap up our study of the Bill of Rights.
Countdown To Bill of Rights Day – The Ninth Amendment – Rights of People
The Ninth Amendment is not an amendment you hear discussed too often nor is there significant caselaw regarding it. However, that in no way diminishes the importance of it. To put simply, the Ninth Amendment is a guarantee the Bill of Rights does not limit our rights to only those previously enumerated in the document. How exactly does this affect each of us? How was Madison appeasing both the Federalist and Anti-Federalists through the Ninth Amendment? Is there a difference between an enumerated and unenumerated right? Join our all-star panel and guest Constitutional expert, Hillsdale Professor Adam Carrington, as we continue our study of the Bill of Rights.
Countdown To Bill of Rights Day – The Eighth Amendment: Limits on Fines & Punishment
We’ve spoken before of the Founders’ penchant for brevity. The Eighth Amendment takes that habit to a new level. Just 16 words long, it still manages to codify three separate clauses related to limiting fines and punishment. Just what are these three clauses? What is the history behind the concerns regarding governmental power to punish that the Founders were alleviating and limiting? Just how important is that “and” in the cruel and unusual clause? To find out, join our weekly chat featuring Sam Gedge with the Institute for Justice and our student panel as we continue our study of the Bill of Rights!
Countdown To Bill of Rights Day – The Seventh Amendment: Trial by Jury in Civil Cases
The Founding Fathers were fond of brevity in creating our constitution. While few in words and somewhat overlooked compared to some of the other amendments, the 7th Amendment is long in impact. To be succinct, the 7th Amendment guarantees civil cases can be heard and decided by a jury. Why was this needed? What concerns were the Founders alleviating? And why does it mention a $20 minimum dispute? Join returning guest Joerg Knipprath with Southwestern Law School and our brilliant student panel for this chat on the 7th Amendment.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–Amendment VI: Right To A Speedy, Public Trial – And More!
If someone is arrested in the United States, they will soon get their day in court to determine guilt or innocence, right? Imagine if that wasn’t always the case. Imagine you are arrested and the state keeps you locked up for an unspecified amount of time before going to trial. Sadly, this was reality before the Sixth Amendment. What does it say exactly? What are the six legal protections within the amendment? What constitutes a fair and speedy trial? Join this week’s chat featuring Robert Alt with the Buckeye Institute and our brilliant student panelists Tova and Lindsey as we unpack our Sixth Amendment.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–Amendment IV
Regular viewers of our podcast certainly understand the role of the Bill of Rights was not so much to grant rights to citizens but to limit the actions of the federal government in curtailing an individual’s rights. That trend continues in the Fourth Amendment. It places two vital restrictions on the government: unreasonable search and seizures and warrants only with probable cause. Why is this so important? Just what exactly constitutes probable cause, reasonable suspicion and reasonable doubt? For these answers and so many others, join our special guest, Cully Stimson with the Heritage Foundation and our rockstar student panelists for this “reasonable” discussion into the Fourth Amendment.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–Amendment V
“I plead the 5th!” We have all heard that line before whether it was on the evening news or a legal drama TV show. It’s a legal protection pulled directly from the 5th Amendment which outlines criminal procedure and applies to federal, state and local governments. What exactly does it mean? What is a grand jury, the double jeopardy clause and the takings clause? We are excited to have Andrew Langer, President of the Institute for Liberty, returning as our guest along with our student panel as we discuss the 5th Amendment.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–Amendment III
One might question why the 3rd Amendment was given such a lofty position behind 1st amendment protections and the right to keep and bear arms. It’s not often talked about and doesn’t drive the news cycle or inspire mass protesting. So why did The Founders codify that we do not have to quarter soldiers in our homes? What act of parliament was this amendment directly countering? And what role did the Boston Tea Party play to inspire such an amendment? Join our special guest, Hans von Spakovsky with the Heritage Foundation, and our all-star lineup of student panelists for this insightful conversation into the Third Amendment.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–Amendment II
The Bill of Rights are quite the exercise in brevity. Perhaps that is no more apparent than in the second amendment. 27 words is all it has. Yet those 27 words have a set off countless newspaper articles, TV segments, court cases and endless debate. Just what did The Founders intend when they wrote those 27 words? What clues in other founding documents can give us insight into their intent? Does the amendment secure gun ownership only in the context of a militia or does it guarantee private ownership? And what exactly did DC v Heller establish in 2008? Join our special guest, Professor Nelson Lund with the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, and our all-star panel for this insightful discussion on the second amendment.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–The First Amendment, Part 2
Perhaps no amendment is as hotly debated as the First Amendment, and specifically the clauses related to freedom of religion: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. Even though none of the charges against the king outlined in the Declaration of Independence concern religion, religious liberty is the very first concern in the Bill of Rights. In the few words concerning religion, the words “separation of church and state” do not appear. That phrase comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote years later. Our guest argues the real father and architect of religious liberty in our country is not Thomas Jefferson but James Madison due to Madison’s grasp of the American understanding of religious liberty. Join our student panel and returning guest, Professor Chris Burkett, for this in-depth discussion on the natural right to religious liberty.
Countdown to Bill of Rights Day–The First Amendment, Part I
When someone refers to the First Amendment, they are often referring to freedom of speech. Are you aware that there are actually 6 enumerated freedoms protected in the First Amendment? Along with speech, the First Amendment guarantees Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Peaceably Assemble, Freedom to Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances, Freedom to Practice Religion and the notion of no state-mandated religion. We are going to discuss the last two in depth next week and will focus on the first four this week. Freedom of Speech and the Press are pretty well-known but it’s important to point out that free press does not solely apply to journalists and publishers. It’s what gives each of us the freedom to publish a blog or make a YouTube video. So what do the other two freedoms mean? Join our student panel (featuring new panelist Yashica Nabar) and guest speaker Professor Bradley Smith of Capital University Law School in Ohio for this enlightening discussion into our basic freedoms.
Countdown To Bill of Rights Day: History of the Bill of Rights!
We are kicking off a new series today focusing on the Bill of Rights. Hopefully we all know the Bill of Rights are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and enshrine some of the most basic tenets of liberty and freedom we know today. But what do we know beyond that? What do we know about how it came to pass through ratification and the debate between the Federalists and Anti-federalists on this issue? And why was James Madison, one of our country’s Founders and Father of the Constitution so opposed to its passage initially, and how and why did he become its champion? Join our panel and returning guest Tony Williams with the Bill of Rights Institute for part 1 in our new series on the Bill of Rights.
Countdown to Constitution Day: Wrap up-Fixing Lack Of Constitutional Knowledge In The U.S.
It’s been called “The Miracle at Philadephia.” Though most of us, we hope, know our Constitution was an experiment in self-government, do we really understand how revolutionary it was in the late 18th century to create such a government or the struggles endured to see it signed and ratified? The Founders believed for this experiment to succeed, the document itself wasn’t enough. The principles contained therein have to be in the heart and minds of Americans. In that way, those principles give the document life and animate it. According to our special guest, Dr. Jeffrey Sikkenga, Executive Director of the Ashbrook Center, we must reanimate those principles each generation and relearn them. Our American story is complex. It has heroes and villains, success and failure. At the heart of it is a document signed in 1787 that gave life to our country. Join Dr. Sikkenga and our all-star panel for this enlightening discussion in how we will continue to reanimate the United States Constitution. Check out the Ashbrook Center’s new website: AmericanFounding.org.
Article VI & VII
Buckle up, we are going to cover a lot of ground today! As we have learned, the grand structures of our government were created in earlier articles in the US Constitution: Congress, the Presidency, the Judiciary, the Amendment Process, the guarantee of republicanism. Article VI codified that debts incurred by the previous government would be recognized and paid back by the new government under the Constitution. Why was this important in making our new country a player on the international stage? Why were the Supremacy Clause and Oath Clause in Article VI revolutionary for its time and how did they work to bind the states into one unified country? And why wouldn’t our country exists if not for Article VII which changed our system for ratifying the new Constitution? Join our student panel and guest, Former Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Andrew Olmem for our discussion into Articles VI and VII of the US Constitution.
Article V – Amending The Constitution
Through Articles, 1-4, The Constitution gives us three branches of government and guarantees republicanism to the states. Should we later desire an amendment to the Constitution, how would that happen? Article V answers that question by codifying an amendment process. The Founders wanted to strike the right balance between too strong of a central government, like the monarchy in England from whom we had just separated, and too weak of a government like we had under the Articles of Confederation. They realized the importance of being able to tweak government without having to overthrow a monarch or engage in revolution. The purpose of Article V is to allow change but not in a hasty manner. Nor was the purpose to require unanimity, as under the Articles of Confederation, making change nearly an impossible achievement. Join our student panel and returning guest, Horace Cooper, senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research for this insightful conversation.
Article IV – Guaranteeing A Republic
If you’ve been following our discussion over the last few weeks about each article of the U.S. Constitution, you know the Founders created the legislative, executive and federal judiciary with Articles 1-3. But it took far more than just organization at the federal level to create our government. Enter Article 4, which guarantees republicanism to every state. Why is that so important and vital in creating a long-lasting peaceful system in which we have both a federal government alongside 50 state governments and what is a regime? Join our panel and returning guest, Will Morrisey, Professor Emeritus at Hillsdale College to find out!
Article III – The Size of the Supreme Court
The Constitution creates the federal judiciary in Article III, but did you know it does not actually give a specific number of Supreme Court Justices we are to have? Throughout our country’s history, we have fluctuated between 5-10 Justices, but have held steady at nine since 1869. The last few years have seen a renewed interest in “court-packing,” that is, expanding the number of Justices to change the ideological balance of the court. Today we welcome new student panelist and “We The People Contest” winner Lindsey Larkin. Join Lindsey, Tova, Cathy and our special guest, Constitutional expert John Vecchione, Senior Litigation Counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance, as we continue our discussion on Article III of the United States Constitution.
Article III – The Judicial Branch
Did you know Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which creates the federal judiciary, has its roots in the Declaration of Independence? That’s right. Among the charges Thomas Jefferson cited for independence, he writes, “He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.” The Founding Fathers directly addressed this in Article 3, Section I, when they granted the judiciary to have lifetime appointments and their salaries could not be cut by Congress. Join our special guest, Judge Kenton Skarin with the 18th Judicial Circuit in Illinois, and our student panel for this conversation as we discuss the history of the court, original and appellate jurisdiction, Marbury v. Madison and from where the Court gets the power to rule on constitutionality.
Article II – Executive Orders
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by one in 1863. One created the precursor to the Department of Homeland Security in October 2001. George Washington issued 8 of them, including one establishing our Thanksgiving Holiday. President Harrison issued none, while President Franklin Roosevelt issued 3,721 (by some count). Today we are discussing Executive Orders. What are they? How are they used? How does the Constitution grant this immense power to the president and what are the mechanisms we have to modify or revoke them? Join our special guest, Kara Rollins, Litigation Counsel with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, and our student panel as we examine the history and current application of executive orders.
Article II – The Executive Branch – We Are Counting Down To Constitution Day!
Regular followers of Constituting America know this by heart: Article I of our Constitution creates Congress which creates law. Article II creates the Executive Branch which enforces law. Article III creates the Judicial Branch which interprets law. Article II is what we are discussing today. While we know the President is the head of the executive branch, that position alone cannot enforce all law. So how does any law passed by Congress actually get enforced? There are 15 Cabinet-level departments in the Executive Branch whose job is to enforce law. Additionally, according to our guest, there are between 320-450 federal agencies, offices within the federal government, that create the rules and regulations that allow Congressionally-passed federal law to be enforced. Our special guest today is Andrew Langer, President of the Institute for Liberty and Chairman and Founder of the Institute for Regulatory Analysis and Engagement. Join Andrew and our student panels for this illustrious discussion into the mechanisms through which our laws are enforced.
Article 1 – How A Bill Becomes A Law
Constituting America viewers of a certain generation will undoubtedly remember a cartoon from Schoolhouse Rock called “I’m Just A Bill” that explained the legislative process in how a bill becomes law. James Madison wanted the process of legislating to be intentionally difficult through both houses to prevent what he called in Federalist 62 as “improper acts of legislation.” We all know Congress is made up of two bodies: the House and Senate. But what is the process of how a bill winds its way through the House and Senate and ultimately lands on the President’s desk to be signed into law? How can a bill still become law when the President does not sign it? And what on earth are committees, subcommittees, conference committees, party whips and Appropriations and what role do they all play in lawmaking? Join our all-star panel for this informative discussion with Professor Colleen Sheehan of Arizona State University who is also a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives!
Article 1 – The Legislative Branch
This is worth pondering. We know the very first article in the U.S. Constitution creates Congress and gives it power at the same time. For lawmaking authority to be delegated to Congress, that means that power already existed but wasn’t delegated, right? Where did that power reside? The answer to that question is found in the first 3 words in the Preamble, “We The People.” If the legislative branch writes law, the executive branch enforces law and the judiciary adjudicates and interprets law, the next logical question must be what are laws? How are they enforced through a system of punishments and rewards? We know this is a lot of questions to ask all at once. But these questions and so many more are discussed in this week’s chat with our special guest, Dr. Adam Carrington with Hillsdale College, and our student panel with new student panelist, Halley Moak!
Constitutional Convention & the Preamble
Fifty-five men arguing over 88 days. That’s what it took at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 to draft a preamble and the seven articles that make up our Constitution. With the Articles of Confederation as a starting point, what were the challenges facing the delegates? How were compromises reached balancing state vs. federal power? What structural changes to the Articles of Confederation were made? All of these questions and many many more are answered in this exciting chat with our student panel, Janine Turner and Professor Gordon Lloyd of Pepperdine University.
What Is the Semiquincentennial? Our Independence Day Episode!
In four years we will celebrate the biggest birthday our country has ever seen. In fact, planning for this birthday celebration began in 2016! That year, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4875, legislation which formally created the United States Semiquincentennial Commission to plan the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States. Constituting America co-founder Cathy Gillespie is proud to be 1 of the 16 private citizen members of the commission! Join our student panel as we welcome Joe Daniels, President and CEO of the America 250 Foundation for this discussion on how we will celebrate our country’s milestone birthday in four years!
Our Special Flag Day Episode with “Betsy Ross” Herself!
It has 13 stars on a blue background and 13 stripes of alternating red and white. Our country’s first flag was a rallying symbol during the American Revolution. But what do you know about the woman who made the flag, Betsy Ross? A devout Quaker, she was a young widow when her late husband’s uncle, Declaration of Independence signer George Ross, tasked her with making the flag. On National Flag Day, Constituting America proudly presents a conversation with Betsy Ross, skillfully played by Kim Hanley with the American Historical Theater. Join our panel for this one-of-a-kind living history discussion!
How Republics Elect Heads of Government
During election cycles Americans often debate the value of the Electoral College. Not every citizen understands why the Founders created it, how it works today, and why it is so important to the stability of our Nation. Mr. Maibach traces its origin to the Constitutional Convention held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. The Electoral College was a compromise between the 9 small states and the 4 most populous states when they met in Philadelphia. The Electoral College is designed so that citizens of each state vote for their choice for President, and the aggregation of the Electoral votes of all the states decides the winner. Join our student panel and our special guest, Michael Maibach of Save our States, for a discussion about this unique American electoral process, and how it compares to how other republics around the world select their heads of government. These stories will engage and may surprise the viewer.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Partisanship
Madison defined it in Federalist No. 10. George Washington cautioned against it in his Farewell Address. What we call partisanship today, the Founders called faction. And they were concerned with its prevalence in politics. In their desire to create a government that featured reason over passion, the Founders were acutely aware of the negative effects faction brings. What can we do about it? Join our panel and guest William Morrisey, Professor Emeritus at Hillsdale College, for this discussion in partisanship and faction.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Anarchy
Imagine this. You are designing a new country and have a coin in your hand to flip. One side is anarchy and the other is tyranny. What do you do? You flip the coin and try to get it to land on its side. This is what our Founders were aiming for when creating our country. We are happy to have Professor Gordon Lloyd of Pepperdine University with our student panel as we discuss everything from the whigs and worries, bi-annual vs annual elections, how order falls into tyranny and liberty falls into anarchy, Socrates, the Athenian assembly, and virtue. Join us as we unpack a lot in this insightful discussion!
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Utopian Thought
Have you ever thought about our Constitution as a practical exercise in governance rather than an academic exercise? What that means is the Constitution addresses real problems accounting for human nature rather than viewing men through a utopian lens as virtuous “angels.” In Federalist 51, Madison tells us “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Join our panel and Professor Joerg Knipprath as we explore how the Founders were realists who dealt with real people and real problems. Thank you to this week’s sponsor Bob DeMartino of History Salvaged.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Roman Republic
The Roman Republic lasted 482 years! Why did it fall to tyranny? What lessons from the Republic’s fall did our Framers recognize to influence the structure of our own country? According to our guest, Professor Joerg Knipprath of Southwestern Law School, one of the reasons for the Roman Republic’s fall was that it simply got too big to govern itself. For a deeper explanation, join Professor Knipprath and our panel as he dives into the governmental structures of the Roman Republic.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Dictators
How did two 17th century European philosophers shape the various systems of government we see worldwide? Thomas Hobbes believed stability relied on a “Leviathan” government, an all powerful state to maintain order. John Locke wrote about unalienable rights and the role of government in protecting those rights. Authoritative countries like Russia, China and North Korea follow the “Leviathan” model while democracies and republics follow Locke. While the United States is not the world’s first republic, our Founders studied the Greeks, the Romans and Italian city-states like Venice to avoid the failures that brought down past republics and democracies. Join our student panel and guest expert, Dr. Joseph Loconte with the Heritage Foundation, for this informative dive into dictators, authoritarian regimes and the role “freedom of conscience” plays in resisting both systems.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Monarchy
When you think of a monarch, what comes to mind? Castles, moats and leading an entire country? Perhaps pomp and circumstance and a fancy throne? Have you ever thought about monarchies as perhaps the original form of government? In this chat with Professor Joerg Knipprath, our panel discusses the pros and cons of monarchies, how they can devolve into tyranny and how our Framers studied past civilizations in creating our country to avoid the pitfalls of monarchies.
Avoiding the Pitfalls of Greece’s Democracy
Did you know the ancient Athenian Democracy was a pure democracy in that citizens directly voted rather than through representatives? However, only a few people, around 10,000, earned the title of “citizen.” The Founders of our country studied this and recognized the perils of the Athenian Democracy and other past regimes and democracies. By studying history, they navigated these pitfalls in establishing our country as a republic. Join our student panel and special guest, Dr. Christoper Burkett with Ashland University as we explore the three major problems in the Athenian Democracy and how the Founding Fathers structured solutions in our republic.
Treaties & The Constitution
We all know of famous treaties that ended wars such as the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution or the Treaty of Versailles which brought peace between Allied Powers and Germany at the end of World War I. You’ve also heard of international agreements between sovereign countries like the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. Besides knowing that treaties and international agreements both exist between nations, what are the other commonalities and differences between the two? One has senate approval and carries the full weight of law and the other doesn’t require senate input and can be rescinded by subsequent administrations. Join our student panel and constitutional expert, Dr. Eric R. Mandel, Executive Director at the Middle East Political and Information Network, for this discussion on Treaties and the Constitution!
War & the Constitution
War. We’ve all seen footage from war zones on the nightly news and most recently the tragic images from Ukraine. Did you know Congress has not actually declared war since World War II? How has the use of military force been authorized since then? What is the War Powers Act and how has it been applied? What does the Constitution say about this? What were the differing views from the Founders on war, specifically the differences between Hamilton on one side and Jefferson and Washington on the other? And how is all of this highly relevant in today’s heightened geo-political landscape? For all of these answers, please join our special guest, Andrew Langer with the Institute for Liberty and our student panel as we discuss this salient topic.
The Founders on Foreign Policy
Have you thought about the Declaration of Independence as a foreign policy document? Or have you thought the same about Washington’s Farewell Address? Well they certainly are! The Declaration outlined our case for independence from another country and in itself is a statement on universal principles that were the cornerstone for our new country. Washington’s Farewell Address cautioned against “international friendships of dubious value.” The Founders put an emphasis on prudence as a classical virtue, echoing Aristotle. According to our special guest, this caution was woven into our approach to foreign policy, especially as a fledgling nation surrounded by hostile powers. Join our guest, Dr. Matthew Spaulding with Hillsdale College and our panel for this insightful discussion on the origins of the United State’s foreign policy.
Bitcoin: History & Future of Currency 101
How much do you actually know about bitcoin? You’ve undoubtedly heard about it and people becoming wealthy because of it. But what do you actually know about what it is and what gives it value? Bitcoin is described as the world’s first decentralized digital currency but it is neither the first digital currency nor the first decentralized currency. Join our special guest, Brandon Vanderford, Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Economics at the University of Texas at Arlington and our panel as we dive into bitcoin, what it has in common with the ancient Rai stones of Micronesia and why it’s called Gold 2.0.
Imports/Exports: Tariffs 101
Trade. Trade Wars. Economic Sanctions. Tariffs. These are terms you hear nightly on the evening news but what are they? The Founding Fathers saw a need for our country to regulate international commerce–both leaving and coming into our country–as a tool to protect and advance our country’s interests. One of the tools they gave Congress is the power to levy a tariff, or a tax on an imported item. But who bears the burden on that tax, the country sending that good or the country importing it? Our guest argues empirical evidence overwhelmingly shows the importer bears that burden so tariffs seldom punish trading partners but rather the consumer. Join our guest, Christine McDaniel, Senior Fellow with the Mercatus Center, and our panel for this insight into economic policies behind the goods we buy and sell.
America’s Budget Deficit 101
The deficit. The debt. What are they and aren’t they the same thing? To be concise, the debt is the total of the yearly deficit our country runs yearly between tax revenue and debt and no, they are not the same thing. Did you know the President is supposed to submit a budget to congress to approve? Instead, Congress tends to pass short-term spending bills that more often than not are politically motivated. And what is the result of that? Over the last 62 years, we have had a national deficit for 58 of those years and a surplus, when tax revenue is higher than spending, only 4 of those years? We have so much debt right now that we currently spend 7% of our annual spending just to pay the interest on the the total debt our country holds. Join our panel and special guest, Dr. Ivan Pongracic from Hillsdale College and we further examine the effects of continued deficit spending.
America’s National Debt 101
What is our national debt? How much is it and why does our government continue to spend money it does not have? How is it different than our deficit? Whatever our government spends has to be paid back, eventually, through either increased taxation or increasing our debt load. Knowing that, in what way does debt misrepresent the size and price of our government? These questions and many others will be discussed by our panel and Dr. Gary Wolfram, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College. Join us for this conversation on our national debt.
Financial Socialism’s Instability 101
Socialism does not work. It never has. It never will. Case in point: Venezuela. How does a country go from being one of the richest in the world and the most prosperous in Latin America just a few decades ago to one of the least prosperous countries in the world today? Think about this, in the 1970s, Venezuela was the 10th most economically free country worldwide (low taxes, low government spending and regulation) and in 2019 it was dead last, according to the Fraser Institute. Our special guest, Daniel Di Martino, grew up in Venezuela and his family fled their country after seeing their middle-class income fall from $3,000-$4,000 per month to less than $100. Join Daniel and our panel for this eye-opening first-hand account of how socialism destroyed his homeland.
Financial Communism Why It Fails 101
Has communism ever worked? There are plenty of excuses as to why it has not worked but the fact of the matter is that it never has. Why is that? A “utopia” sounds great in theory but the Marxist framework behind communism ignores several key factors that prevent it from working as designed. What are these fatal flaws? Join our panel and Dr. Anne Rathbone Bradley with The Fund for American Studies as we examine how and why communism continues to fail every time it is attempted.
Financial Capitalism Why It Works 101
What is capitalism? Simply put, capitalism is a system of free-enterprise where the economy is directed by markets and not top-down by a central government. What does that mean? It means you and millions of other Americans direct our economy and not a handful of bureaucrats in the government. It means you get to decide how and when to lend or borrow and increase competition for the best financial outcome among savers and borrowers. Join our panel and Dr. Lawrence H. White, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and professor of economics at George Mason University for our discussion on capitalism!
The Stock Market 101
While the idea of pulling out your phone and instantly buying or selling shares of a stock might be a new phenomenon, the practice of stock trading certainly is not. Did you know stock markets have their roots in 1600s Holland? Companies learned they could fund expensive six-month long voyages to India to bring back spices by selling small ownership stakes to a lot of people. If the voyage was profitable, the shareholder might receive or a dividend of the profits or their ownership stake might increase in value. Our current stock market still functions in essentially the same way hundreds of years later! Join our panel and Desmond Lachman with the American Enterprise Institute for this conversation on our stock market!
The Federal Reserve 101
It’s a name often in headlines and the evening news. But how much do you really know about what the Federal Reserve is and what it does? Did you know it was not created by the Founders in the 18th century but was created in the 20th century? How exactly does the Federal Reserve regulate our country’s money supply and what role does it play in accomplishing two goals of sustained high growth and full employment? Who runs it since it is independent of the President and Congress? For these answers plus so many others, join our panel and Professor John O. McGinnis with Northwestern University for this “valuable” conversation!
Hamilton’s National Bank 101
In creating the new country, our Founders were led by Alexander Hamilton in creating a financial system that would become the envy of the world. In creating this system, Hamilton did four important and interrelated things-fund the national debt, assumption of state war debt, defined US dollar in terms of gold and silver and established the First Bank of the United States. To accomplish this last item, Hamilton had to make an argument that the bank was constitutional as a central bank was not an enumerated power. Join our panel and guest Bob Wright with the American Institute for Economic Research and find out why he argues Hamilton “created the United States of America!”
Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations 101
Did you know much of our modern theories and thoughts on economics have roots with a 18th century Scotsman? Adam Smith wrote “An Inquiry Into The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” in 1776 and we still are impacted by his work today. He explored the ideas that we act out of our self-interest, the role of incentives, division of specialized labor and productivity. All of these issues are highly relevant today! Join our panel and all-star academic Dr. Roberta “Bobbi” Herzberg for this discussion on this prolific and relevant author.
The American Economy 101
Have you ever thought about the role our government plays in our economy? Think about this: Does our constitution protect economic liberty? Do you have the right to buy and sell at the price and terms you set? Can you borrow and lend? Do we have a right to transact anonymously, especially in the era of crypto? All of these questions play a role in whether or not our country sustains long term economic growth. Join our special guest John Cochrane, otherwise known as “The Grumpy Economist”, and our panel as we examine the relationship between our government and our economy.
The American Court System: How DOES It Work? — Wrap-up Episode: Overview of the American Court System
We were all taught in school, or through Constituting America’s programs, that the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land. But how is that supreme law to be interpreted? For example, what view do we take when the Constitution says the president must be a “natural born citizen?” What’s the difference between originalism and living constitutionalism? Join our panel and constitutional expert Ed Whelan, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, for this conversation as we wrap up our dive into the American Court System.
The American Court System: How DOES It Work? — Military Courts
We have local courts. We have state and federal courts. Did you know we have another type of court most of us will never experience? The military has its own court system and it follow the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ, since codified by congress, actually predates our country! Some of the elements of the UCMJ are similar to civilian courts, like laws against murdering and stealing, but it also differs with laws pertaining to a solider being absent without leave (AWOL). Join our panel and Captain Charles Stimson, Commanding Officer of the Preliminary Hearing Unit, for this discussion on military courts.
The American Court System: How DOES It Work?—Local Courts: Municipal, County, Traffic, Drug
We have a myriad of local state and federal courts handling our judicial process. Texas has 950 municipal courts, 800 justice courts, 528 county level courts, 483 state district courts, 14 court of appeals, one Texas Supreme Court and finally one Court of Criminal Appeals! And that is just in Texas! What does this all mean? What are the differences in jurisdictions between these courts? Join our panel and Judge Kimberly Fitzpatrick to find out!
The American Court System: How DOES It Work? — The State Court System
When you think of the US court system, you probably first think of the US Supreme Court. Did you know that while federal courts like the Supreme Court generate the most headlines, most judicial activity is found in state courts? In 2018, 83.8 million cases were filed in state court while just 359,000 cases were filed in federal court. We have over 30,000 state court judges across the country and just 870 federal judges. Why do we have state courts and how are they structured? Join our panel and guest, Associate Judge Kenton Skarin with Illinois’ 18th Judicial Circuit for these answers and more!
The American Court System: How DOES It Work? — Federal Courts: Appeals Courts and District Courts
Imagine this. It’s the early years of our country. After a lengthy legal career and senate confirmation, you become a Supreme Court Justice. One of your duties? Get on your horse and travel hundreds or thousands of miles around your “circuit” to hear appeals case. Believe it or not, that was once the responsibility of our Supreme Court justices! What exactly are Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit? What are their jurisdictions? How do they differ from state courts? For these answers and more, join our panel and special guest, Senior Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research Horace Cooper, as we examine our federal court system.
The American Court System: How DOES It Work? -The Appointment and Election of Judges
Have you ever thought about how judges get their positions? Some are elected, some are appointed and others go through lengthy, and often contentious, senate hearings broadcast on C-SPAN. Why is that? The Founders wanted federal judges to be insulated from political influences so they are given lifetime appointments and generous pensions for their service. State judges rule on issues closer to the people so it makes sense some are elected by the very people their rulings will affect. Join our panel and our guest, Carrie Severino with the Judicial Crisis Network, for this look into how our judges are chosen.
The American Court System-How Does It Work? A History of the Supreme Court
Think about this. Our Constitution dates back over two centuries with only a few changes. No other country can say the same. In creating our government, the Founders knew the Supreme Court would not be the most powerful of the branches. Hamilton explained the President has the sword, Congress has the purse and all the Supreme Court has is judgement. The Court’s power comes from judgement and the reasonability of their action, not through coercion and force. These are interesting points to consider. Join our panel and Professor John Yoo, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, for this insightful discussion into the practices and history of “the highest court in the land.”
Can States Control Their Own Borders?
Did you know 17 US states have an international border? The intersection of empathy and rule of law has been front and center in the news over the last few months as the debate over our immigration laws was reignited. While we feel both sympathy from those traveling thousands of miles against dangerous odds to get here, we also have to respect our rule of law. The U.S. Constitution delegates border enforcement issues to the executive branch of the national government, but what are states to do if those federal laws are not being adequately enforced? Join our panel, moderated by Constituting America founder and co-chair Actress Janine Turner, with students, and our expert guest: former Justice Department Senior Advisor to the US Attorney General Gene Hamilton for this insightful discussion.
The Gabby Petito Tragedy: Obtaining the Laundrie Warrant Sooner? The Role of the 4th & 5th Amendment
It’s the case that has grasped a nation. A young social media personality goes missing, is eventually found deceased and her fiancé is a suspect. With so many unanswered questions, we have reexamined interactions with law enforcement in the days preceding her disappearance. Could they have done more? Could the fiancé have been detained? The Bill of Rights sets the framework for law enforcement through the 4th and 5th amendments. Join our panel and former federal prosector Charles Stimson as we examine the legal circumstances in this case and criminal procedure.
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 13: The Anti-Federalist and Federalist Debate Still Rages Today
For 13 weeks, we continued a conversation that first began over 200 years ago between Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Why is it relevant to continue this conversation? It’s because we belong in a community. The Preamble echoes this as it does not begin with “I, the individual” but with “We, the people.” In continuing this conversation we realize human nature and the natural tendencies we have to join social and political groups, quarrel and ask questions. In human nature, the gravitation towards power is constant, therefore we divide it to prevent its corrupting tendency. Join Professor Gordon Lloyd from Pepperdine University and our panel as we continue this conversation!
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 12: The Role of the Judiciary: Brutus XV and Federalist 78
The Supreme Court was controversial when it was first proposed. In Brutus XV, Robert Yates argues the problem with the Supreme Court is that it will be too powerful because they can interpret the Constitution and their decisions cannot be overturned. In a direct response in Federalist 78, Hamilton argued the Supreme Court and federal courts would not be the most powerful branch but the least dangerous because they cannot make laws, cannot tax and cannot enforce the law. Hamilton argued court power of judicial review is limited and not meant to give the court supremacy over the other branches but to protect its own independence. What do you think? Has the Supreme Court become too powerful and does Brutus offer insight into what the Supreme Court has become? Join our panel and Dr. Jeffrey Sikkenga, Executive Director of the Ashbrook Center, for this enlightening discussion.
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 11: Is a Bill of Rights Necessary? Federal Farmer IV, James Wilson’s State House Speech, and Federalist 84
When you decide to take an action, do you seek permission to take that action or look for a prohibition against it? The difference is substantial. Anti-Federalists supported a Bill of Rights in the Constitution as they viewed it as a list of rights that should be retained by the people in the new government. They were concerned that through the Supremacy Clause, the US Constitution would overrule state constitutions. The Federalists did not view the Bill of Rights as necessary, believing the checks and balances sufficient to protect our individual liberty, and argued that an enumeration of “we the peoples’” rights would give the government permission to take over in areas not listed. The Federalists feared a Bill of Rights might actually harm individual liberty. What do you think? Join our panel and Constitutional expert Tara Ross for this powerful discussion.
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 10: New Government Powers: Brutus V, Agrippa VII and Federalist 45
Power. Should it rest with the states or with the federal government? The Articles of Confederation did an incomplete job in assigning powers such as commerce and taxation so The Founders held a Constitutional Convention to address these concerns. Brutus and Agrippa had concerns that the “common defense and general welfare” clause in the new constitution was too broad. Madison responded to this concern in Federalist 45 that the power of the general government are few and defined while the power to the states are many and undefined. Brutus and Agrippa thought a too strong general government would suck away power from the states while Madison felt a union with too weak a government could crumble. What do you think? Join our panel and the ever-informative Professor Gordon Lloyd for this week’s discussion that has profound relevance even today.
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 9: Unity of the Executive: Cato V and Federalist 70
Have you ever noticed that Article 2 of the Constitution, which creates the presidency, is much shorter than Article 1, which creates Congress? The Founders knew the President’s powers needed to be “flexible” since that’s the only branch of government which serves year-round. The Anti-Federalists felt this was dangerous as the President could become a Caesar with undefined powers. Hamilton and the Federalists were happy with a stronger central government with a strong executive. What do you think? Has our Executive Branch grown to be too big with too much power or does this structure allow our country to properly assign blame, echoing President Truman’s famous slogan, “the buck stops here?” Join our panel and Professor Joerk Knipprath as we discuss both of these points of views in this week’s chat.
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 8: The Role of the Second Branch: Brutus XVI and Federalist 63
In Brutus XVI, the Anti-Federalists expressed concerns over the design of the senate even though they felt the senate was needed for their preferred type of government. They feared the senate design as a threat to liberty because of the consolidation of central power at the expense of the states and the people. In Federalist 63, Madison argued against these fears with the need for predictability and stability. Please join our panel and constitutional expert, Professor Michael Zuckert from the University of Notre Dame, as we explore Brutus’ concerns, the concessions Madison promulgated and what our guest likes to call “short-leash republicanism.”
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 7: The Role of the First Branch: Brutus III and Federalist 55
James Madison wrote in Federalist 55, “Had every Athenian been a Socrates; every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.” What did he mean? The Founders knew representation was central to the American experiment so it was no accident that the Constitution created our legislative branch before any other. They were also wary of that branch having too much law-making power so they split that authority into a bicameral legislature. While the Federalists wanted to give more power, like taxation, to Congress, the Anti-Federalists were wary of such “enlargement.” Unsurprisingly, that debate continues today. Please join our panel and special guest Tony Williams from the Bill of Rights Institute as we deep dive into the structure of the “first branch.”
Anti-Federalist Paper Series-Ep. 6: The Separation of Powers-Brutus II and Federalist 51
James Madison wrote that “the great difficulty” of creating a system of government is finding the way it can “control ITSELF.” Are checks and balances enough to protect your rights? The Anti-Federalists thought no! What do you think? Is a Bill of Rights needed with a strong constitution that delegates and, more importantly, LIMITS power? This was a major debate among the founding fathers and it still rages on today. Join our panel and special guest Professor Christopher Burkett of the Ashbrook Center of Ashland University as we discuss who was the most likely author of Brutus III, the anti-federalists’ fears about the treaty powers of the executive branch, “the great compromise” at the Constitutional Convention, James Madison’s role in the Bill of Rights, and much more!
Anti-Federalist Paper Series – Episode 5: The Role of the Executive: An Old Whig V and Federalist 71
Does the Executive branch have TOO much power? The Anti-Federalists thought so! What do YOU think? This was a major debate among the founding fathers and it still rages on today. Join our panel and special guest Professor Gordon Lloyd of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy as we discuss the term of office of the presidency; the difference between a monarch and the president; the difference between “Whigs” and “Old Whigs” and how all of this is relevant today!
Anti-Federalist Paper Series – Episode 4: The Improved Science of Politics: Brutus I and Federalist 9
Does the “Necessary and Proper Clause” in our Constitution restrict our freedom? The Anti-Federalists thought so. This was a major debate among the founding fathers and it still rages on today. Join our panel and special guest Professor Joerg Knipprath of Southwestern Law School as we discuss the anti-federalists concerns about the U.S. Constitution, including the “necessary and proper clause,” the nature of a republic; republic vs. democracy; and what Hamilton meant by “The Improved Science of Politics.” How is all of this relevant today? Listen and find out!
Anti-Federalist Paper Series – Episode 3: The Extended Commercial Republic: An Old Whig IV & Federalist 10
“A Republic If You Can Keep It!” Have We? Is it possible to preserve a large republic or were the anti-federalists right that only a small republic is possible to preserve? This was a major debate among the founding fathers and it still rages on today. Join our panel and special guest Professor Gordon Lloyd of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy as we discuss the nature of a republic; “the extended commercial republic,” republic vs. democracy; the difference between “Whigs” and “Old Whigs” and how all of this is relevant today!
Anti-Federalist Paper Series – Episode 2: Partly National, Partly Fed-Federal Farmer 1 & Federalist 39
Power to the states or concentrate power in a central federal government? This was a major debate among the founding fathers and it still rages on today. Join our panel and special guest Tony Williams with the Bill of Rights Institute as we discuss how our current system can be described as partly national and partly federal.
Anti-Federalist Paper Series – Episode I: What’s at Stake: Centinel I and Federalist I
Were the Federalists or the Anti-Federalists Correct? Or Both? And how are they relevant today? Breaking down the Anti-Federalist Papers! Join us as we count down to Constitution Day in our new Anti-Federalist paper series. Listen to our first episode: What’s at Stake: Centinel I and Federalist I. Professor Gordon Lloyd of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy is our special guest!
Little Known Signers of the Declaration of Independence AND YOU: George Wythe
He has been called the Godfather of the Declaration! Who was he? Listen to find out as we discuss Virginia’s George Wythe with Author Suzanne Harman Munson! The last in our “Little Known Signers of the Declaration” series!
Little Known Signers of the Declaration of Independence AND YOU: Roger Sherman
Only one person signed the Continental Association (or Articles of Association – during the First Continental Congress), the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the United States Constitution and the First Continental Congress’s Petition to the King (1774). These are foundational documents that created our country. And you probably never heard of him. Join our panel and special guest Tom Hand of AmericanaCorner.com for this week’s chat about the remarkable Roger Sherman. Click here to follow Americana Corner on Facebook click here to follow Americana Corner on Instagram!
Little Known Signers of the Declaration of Independence AND YOU: Benjamin Rush
He was a physician, United States Mint Treasurer, Member of the Continental Congress, founder of a college, Surgeon General of the Continental Army and “the father of American psychiatry.” He also signed the Declaration of Independence. He was Dr. Benjamin Rush. Join our panel and author William Federer as we dive into the life of Dr. Rush in this exciting and informative chat.
Little Known Signers of the Declaration of Independence AND YOU: George Ross
Did you know that in addition to signing the Declaration of Independence, George Ross was also minister, lawyer and served in the continental army? This little known founding father also shares his last name with his famous niece! Join our panel and special guest Gary Porter for an insightful discussion into this remarkable founding father.
Immigration: Ellis Island and Today: Part II
Please join our panel as we welcome special guest Vincent Cannato. He’s the author of “American Passage: The History of Ellis Island.” Our discussion focuses on the history of Ellis Island and how the immigration debate from that time period continues today.
COVID Vaccine Proof and You: Government Mandate vs. Private Business
Join Michigan’s Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren for this enlightening chat as he and our panel discuss various regulations regarding COVID vaccinations and vaccination cards/proof. What can the federal government and private businesses require? Listen to find out!
Court Packing And You: Past And Present
Our Guest Thomas Jipping of the Heritage Foundation joins us to present a history of the size of the Supreme Court, and past efforts to change the number of justices, known as court packing. Mr. Jipping also discusses The Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States, its mission and structure, and various reforms that may be considered by the commission.
The Constitution and Immigration – Episode Three: The Constitution and Immigration Today
Our guest, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, joins us to give us a first-hand account of our immigration system today. The Attorney General and our panel discuss both legal and illegal immigration and how they tie into our legal system spelled out in the Constitution. Join us for episode three of The Constitution And Immigration: The Constitution and Immigration today!
The Constitution & Immigration – Episode Two: Immigration and Ellis Island
Our guest, Wilfred McClay, is the author of “Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story.” For millions of immigrants, Ellis Island was the first stop on their way to their American Dream. Our panel and guest discuss immigration in the first half of the 20th century. Join us for episode two of The Constitution And Immigration: Ellis Island!
The Constitution & Immigration: The Founders
Our guest, Professor Kevin Portteus of Hillsdale College, discusses the founders’ views on immigration, and immigration during the founding period, Civil War and up to 1898. Join us for episode one of The Constitution And Immigration: The Founders!
Natural Law And You – Episode Four: Preserving Natural Law
There are some things that we “can’t not know”. Our special guest apologizes for the double negative. These laws are so universal that even children know about them. Join our panel and special guest, Dr. J.Budziszewski, author of “Written on the Heart,” as we discuss these universal moral laws and he lays out his case for natural law. Episode 66 of Constitutional Podcast. Livestreamed on 4/13/2021.
Natural Law And You – Episode Three: The Founders And Natural Law
How did the concept of Natural Law influence the Founders as they drafted the Declaration of Independence and later, our United States Constitution? Join our panel and our guest constitutional expert, Tony Williams with the Bill of Rights Institute, as we discuss “The Founders & Natural Law”! Episode 65 of Constitutional Podcast. Livestreamed on 3/30/3031.
Natural Law And You – Episode Two: God And Natural Law
We have rights that are not given to us by governments or the state. We all have certain unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Join our panel this week for this enlightened discussion as we continue our series on “natural law.” Episode 64 of our Live Constitutional Chats Podcast. Livestreamed on 3/30/3031.
Natural Law And You – Episode One: Aristotle and Natural Law
Aristotle is regarded as the father of “natural law.” What exactly is natural law? From the ancient Greeks to the Founders of our country, join this week’s chat to learn what it is and how this concept influenced the philosophies of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes. Episode 63 of Constitutional Chats Podcast. Livestreamed on 3/23/2021.
How Executive Orders Affect Your Life & Checks and Balances
How executive orders affect your life & checks and balances. Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Jewel and Jorne Gilbert interview constitutional scholar Todd Gaziano on the history and current application of executive orders. Episode 62 of Constitutional Chats Podcast. Livestreamed on 3/16/2021.
The Amendments & YOU! 20th & 22nd Amendment & Term Limits (w/ Sen. Ted Cruz) | Constitutional Chats
How the 20th and 22nd Amendment shaped terms in office for federally elected officials. Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Jewel and Jorne Gilbert interview Sen. Ted Cruz on how a potential constitutional amendment to establish term limits for members of Congress. Episode 61 of Constitutional Chats Podcast. Livestreamed on 3/9/2021.
The Amendments & YOU! 27th Amendment (w/ Gregory Watson)
The amazing true-life story of how a college student in Texas was able to get the 27th Amendment to the US Constitution passed. It all started with a C-grade on a paper about this amendment! Episode 60 of Constitutional Chats Podcast. Livestreamed on 3/2/2021.
The Amendments & YOU! 25th Amendment (w/ Hans von Spakovsky)
How the 25th Amendment established the official procedures for Presidential Disability and Succession! Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Tova Love Kaplan interview Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky on what the executive branch had done in the event of Presidential incapacity before the ratification of the 25th Amendment in 1967, and exactly what powers the 25th Amendment grants to the Vice President, the Cabinet, and Congress.
The Amendments & YOU! 23rd & 24th Amendments (w/ Ken Cuccinelli)
How the 23rd Amendment allocated electoral college votes to the residents of the District of Columbia, and how the 24th Amendment abolished the use of poll taxes to stop citizens from exercising their right to vote. Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Cathy Gillespie and Tova Love Kaplan interview former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on these two largely bipartisan amendments, which both stemmed from the Civil Rights Movement.
The Amendments & YOU! 19th Amendment (w/ Tammy Bruce)
How the 19th Amendment changed women’s roles in the voting booth and in American society! Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Tova Love Kaplan interview Tammy Bruce on the suffrage movement, the importance of education and confidence for young women, and how we can continue to increase women’s involvement in government and industry leadership.
The Amendments & YOU! 18th & 21st Amendments (w/ Dr. Gordon Lloyd)
Continuing our discussion of the progressive era amendments with the 18th Amendment, which prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors,” and the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment and returned control of liquor laws to state and local governments. Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Tova Love Kaplan interview Dr. Gordon Lloyd on the temperance movement, impacts on interstate commerce and federalism, and how the 21st Amendment is unique in its Constitutional impact, as the only Amendment to directly repeal another Amendment, and the only Amendment ratified by state ratifying conventions rather than state congresses.
The Amendments & YOU! 14th Amendment (w/ Professor Randy Barnett)
How the 14th Amendment ensured citizenship and equal protection of the laws in the aftermath of the Civil War, and how it still serves to protect citizens today! Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Randy Barnett on the 14th Amendment’s context in history and its role in current events and systems, such as the COVID-19 pandemic mask debate, the criminal justice process, and interstate commerce.
The Amendments & YOU! 16th & 17th Amendments (w/ Dr. Gordon Lloyd)
Beginning our discussion of the “Progressive Era” Amendments with how the 16th Amendment allowed a federal income tax, and the 17th Amendment changed the way U.S. Senators are selected for office to direct election. Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Gordon Lloyd on how these two amendments drastically increased the power of the national government by allowing Congress to levy its own taxes and removing state legislatures from the process of selecting Senators.
The Amendments & YOU! 13th & 15th Amendments (w/ Stacy Washington)
How the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and the 15th Amendment prohibited denying citizens the right to vote based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude. Continuing our “The Amendments and YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Stacy Washington on how these two amendments aimed to protect the rights and equality of recently emancipated slaves and persons of all races.
Bill of Rights & YOU! Passing the Bill of Rights (w/ Professor Brion McClanahan)
Happy Bill of Rights Day! In part 10, the final installment, of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Cathy Gillespie and student ambassador Tova Love Kaplan interview Professor Brion McClanahan on the ratification process of the Bill of Rights, what proposed amendments were not ratified, and how the Bill of Rights as a whole protects Americans to this day.
Bill of Rights & YOU! 9th & 10th Amendments (w/ George Landrith)
How do the 9th and 10th Amendments limit the power of the national government via the principles of federalism? In part 9 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview George Landrith on how these two amendments protect the rights of the people and reserve power to the state governments.
Bill of Rights & YOU! 6th, 7th, & 8th Amendment (w/ Judge Michael Warren)
How does the Bill of Rights outline the rights of the accused and protect those working through the justice system? In part 8 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Judge Michael Warren on how both civil and criminal cases proceed through the court system, the role and selection of a jury, and what constitutes excessive bail for those charged, and fines and punishments for those found guilty.
Bill of Rights & YOU! Fifth Amendment (w/ J. Eric Wise)
What does it mean when the Fifth Amendment provides for protection of rights to life, liberty, and property? In part 7 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Tova Love Kaplan interview J. Eric Wise on the function of a grand jury, “double jeopardy” and the appeals process, and what it means to “plead the Fifth.”
Bill of Rights & YOU! Fourth Amendment (w/ Cully Stimson)
What does it mean when the Fourth Amendment provides for protection against unreasonable searches and seizures? In part 6 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Tova Love Kaplan interview Cully Stimson on what defines probable cause, what a legal and “reasonable” search is, and the myriad of ways the 4th Amendment has been used in court cases, all the way up to the Supreme Court.
Bill of Rights & YOU! Third Amendment (w/ Professor John McCurdy)
What does it mean when the Third Amendment states, “No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law,” also known as the housing of soldiers? In part 5 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Tova Love Kaplan interview Professor John McCurdy on the quartering of soldiers in times of peace and war, expectations of privacy, and potential applications of the Third Amendment in the modern day.
Bill of Rights & YOU! Second Amendment (w/ Professor David Kopel)
What does it mean when the Second Amendment states, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” also known as the right to bear arms? In part 4 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and students Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor David Kopel on the right of citizens to self-defense and protection, the purpose and role of a militia, and the Constitution and the Second Amendment as anti-tyranny documents.
Bill of Rights & YOU! First Amendment part 2: Petition, Speech, Press, Assembly (w/ Professor Erin Hawley)
What does it mean that the First Amendment protects our rights to freedom of speech, right to freedom of the press, right to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and right to peaceably assemble? In part 3 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Erin Hawley on the process for petitioning the government, where the idea to protect these unalienable rights originated, legal precedent for using your First Amendment rights to make a change in your community or in the nation, and more!
Bill of Rights & YOU! First Amendment part 1: Freedom of Religion (w/ Professor Kevin Gutzman)
How the Bill of Rights protects the rights of individuals and states, and the first ten amendments came to be! In part 1 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. David Bobb, President of the Bill of Rights Institute, on the historical context and purpose of the Bill of Rights!
Bill of Rights & YOU! History & Purpose of the Bill of Rights (w/ Dr. David Bobb)
How the Bill of Rights protects the rights of individuals and states, and the first ten amendments came to be! In part 1 of our “Bill of Rights & YOU!” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. David Bobb, President of the Bill of Rights Institute, on the historical context and purpose of the Bill of Rights!
Electoral College for Kids! & “We Elect a President” (w/ Tara Ross)
The electoral college system can be confusing, so we did a special episode – just for kids – on how the electoral college works! Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Tara Ross, author of the children’s book, “We Elect a President,” on why the electoral college was created and why it’s still important today!
Who Are Electors, & What Do They Do? (w/ Christine Pelosi & Martha Jenkins)
How do electors get chosen for different states and political parties, and what do they actually do in the electoral college? Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Christine Pelosi, 2016 California Democrat Elector, and Martha Jenkins, 2004 & 2016 North Carolina Republican Elector, on how they were each selected, what their experiences as electors were like, the importance of civil civic conversations in politics, and more!
Breaking Down The Constitution: Preamble & Constitutional Convention (w/ James D. Best)
What exactly happened when delegates from all 13 states met to write the Constitution? In Part 7, the final installment of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview author James D. Best on the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, how the Preamble serves as the “elevator pitch” for the Constitution, and more!
Breaking Down The Constitution: Article VI & VII (w/ former US Solicitor General Paul Clement)
How the Founding Fathers made the Constitution the supreme law of the land via Article VI, and the outlined Constitution’s ratification process in Article VII! In Part 6 of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, Janine Turner, Jeanette Kraynak, and Lisa Williams interview former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement on the history of the supremacy clause and the scope of federal government, how the courts and justices have interpreted Article VI in terms of federal statues and the amendments, and more!
Breaking Down The Constitution: Article IV & V (w/ Tom Jipping)
How the Founding Fathers laid the groundwork for each state’s republican form of government and relationships between the states and the federal government in Article IV, and the processes for proposing and ratifying amendments to the Constitution in Article V! In Part 5 of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, Cathy Gillespie and Constituting America National Youth Director Tova Love Kaplan interview Heritage Foundation’s Tom Jipping on the history of the amendment process, historical and modern feelings and discussions surrounding a convention of states, and the importance of setting forth a republican form of government in the states!
Breaking Down The Constitution: Article III (w/ Professor Joerg Knipprath)
How the Judicial Branch’s responsibilities are enumerated in Article III of the Constitution, and what powers “We, the People” have granted the Supreme Court and other federal courts! In Part 4 of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Joerg Knipprath on the historical and modern role of the judicial branch, including the establishment of district and circuit courts, the history behind having nine Supreme Court Justices, and the concept of judicial review.
Breaking Down The Constitution: Article II pt. 2 (w/ Professor William Morrisey)
How the Executive Branch’s responsibilities are enumerated in Article II of the Constitution, and what powers “We, the People” have granted the President! In Part 3 of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, Constituting America National Youth Director Tova Love Kaplan, and guest student panelists Wyatt & Jonah Hensley interview Hillsdale Professor William Morrisey on the historical and modern role of the executive branch, including the elector selection process, treaties vs. executive agreements, and the removal process outlined in Section 4.
Breaking Down The Constitution: Article II pt. 1 (w/ Professor William Morrisey)
How the Executive Branch’s responsibilities are enumerated in Article II of the Constitution, and what powers “We, the People” have granted the President! In Part 2 of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and guest student panelists Wyatt & Jonah Hensley interview Hillsdale Professor William Morrisey on the historical and modern role of the executive branch, including its relationships with the legislative and judicial branches and foreign nations.
Should You & Your Family Be Able to Choose Your School? (w/ Micheal Flaherty)
Should ZIP code determine where students go to school, or should students and parents get to choose? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview film producer Micheal Flaherty on the issue of school choice.
Breaking Down The Constitution: Article I (w/ Dr. Colleen Sheehan)
How the Legislature’s responsibilities are enumerated in Article I of the Constitution, and what powers “We, the People” have granted the House of Representatives and the Senate! In Part 1 of the “Breaking Down the Constitution” series, actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Colleen Sheehan, discussing Congress’s historical and modern roles, the Legislative Branch’s interactions with the President and Judiciary, and what it means to be an active and responsible modern citizen in today’s society.
Are You Convinced Yet? Federalist Paper #85 (w/ Hillsdale Professor Adam Carrington)
How Federalist 85 summarizes Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay’s arguments for ratifying the Constitution, and lobbies for the colonists to “not make the perfect the enemy of the good.” Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassador Tova Love Kaplan interview Hillsdale’s Professor Adam Carrington on Alexander Hamilton’s closing message in Federalist Paper #85.
Integrity of the Rule of Law: Federalist Paper #81 (w/ Judge Michael Warren)
How Federalist 78 explains separating the Judicial Branch out from the Legislature! Cathy Gillespie, Jeanette Kraynak, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Hillsdale Professor William Morrisey, on Alexander Hamilton’s message in Federalist Paper #78 and how it set up the newly formed Judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hamilton on the Judiciary: Federalist Paper #78 (w/ Hillsdale Professor William Morrisey)
How Federalist 78 explains separating the Judicial Branch out from the Legislature! Cathy Gillespie, Jeanette Kraynak, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Hillsdale Professor William Morrisey, on Alexander Hamilton’s message in Federalist Paper #78 and how it set up the newly formed Judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
COVID-19 & Education – How Will the Schools Open? (w/ Elizabeth Schultz)
How are different school systems across the United States handling the beginning of the 2020-21 school year as the Coronavirus pandemic continues? Cathy Gillespie, Jay McConville, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Elizabeth Schultz, Fairfax County School Board Member Emeritus, on the different avenues schools and states are pursuing, and how we can place emphasis on what’s best for children as discussions continue.
Women’s Suffrage & “Camilla Can Vote” (w/ Senator Marsha Blackburn & Mary Morgan Ketchel)
In celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, securing women the right to vote in the United States! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN) and her daughter, Mary Morgan Ketchel, on their new children’s book, “Camilla Can Vote,” about the story of women’s suffrage!
Should TikTok Be Banned? (w/ Shane Tews)
Does TikTok pose a national security risk? Is the app appropriately handling the personal data of its users? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Shane Tews on the U.S.’s concerns about TikTok’s data privacy and global security risks, and what app users can do to protect themselves from such risks.
Our Founders’ Warning about Long Laws: Federalist Paper #62 (w/ Professor Joseph Knippenberg)
How Federalist 62 warned against long and confusing laws! Actress Janine Turner, Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan, and Peter Roff interview Professor Joseph Knippenberg on Federalist Paper #62, which discusses the setup of the Senate.
Declaration of Independence (w/ Tony Williams)
Hear the words of the Declaration of Independence read by Constitutional Chats hosts actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and student panelists Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman! Afterwords, our team discusses the global impact of our Declaration, its lasting effects, and more with our guest, author Tony Williams!
Erasing History? Removing Historic Statues (w/ Professor Bill McClay & Eboni Jenerette)
Is removing statues of historic figures rewriting history? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Bill McClay on providing historical context for the figures of the past; how, when, and if to decide to remove statues; and how Americans can ensure that the past is remembered and learned from, even when it is flawed. Guest appearance from We the Future Contest “Best Teacher Lesson Plan” winner Eboni Jenerette to discuss her thoughts on removing statues, and how removing the symbol of the past does not undo the history that occurred.
Checks and Balances & Separation of Powers: Federalist Paper #51 (w/ Dr. Bobbi Herzberg)
How Federalist 51 explained the checks and balances and separation of powers delineated in the Constitution! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Bobbi Herzberg on Federalist Paper #51 and the strengths of checking power between the branches of the national government, as well as between state and federal government!
Juneteenth, The Emancipation Proclamation, & The 13th Amendment (w/ Horace Cooper)
The history of Juneteenth! On June 19, 1865, slaves in Galveston, TX were notified – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation – that the Civil War had ended and they were freed from slavery. Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Horace Cooper on the history of Juneteenth in Texas, the context under which Juneteenth celebrations began, and how the rest of the nation is joining in honoring this historic day.
Federal v. National Government: Federalist Paper #39 (w/ Professor Lucas Morel & Val Crofts)
How Federalist 39 explained the intent of the Constitutional Convention to create the framework for a Republican form of government! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Lucas Morel and Val Crofts on Federalist Paper #39 and how the differences between federal government and national government, and republic and democracy, factored into the way the Constitution was written.
Expand Mail-In Voting? (w/ John Fund)
What is the difference between absentee voting and all mail-in voting, and in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, what should be done to ensure voter safety but continue to allow voter access? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview John Fund on differences in voting methods and how states can best proceed for elections during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Difficulties of the Convention: Federalist Paper #37 (w/ Professor David Kopel)
How Federalist 37 explained the intent of the Constitutional Convention to set aside differences to create a framework for stable American government! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor David Kopel on Federalist Paper #37 (written by James Madison).
Freedom, Faction, & Fracture: Federalist Paper #10 (w/ Professor Adam Carrington)
How Federalist 10 explained the purpose of a Constitutional government as preserving liberties and mitigating faction, and what that has meant throughout history and today! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Hillsdale’s Professor Adam Carrington on Federalist Paper #10 (written by James Madison), and what faction looks like in our present society.
Space as Public & Private Enterprise (w/ Sean O’Keefe & Michael Gold)
How NASA and commercial companies like SpaceX are navigating new missions, and what governs companies and nations as they explore! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Sean O’Keefe (former NASA Administrator) and Michael Gold (Acting Associate Administrator, NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations) on the Artemis Accords, the importance of STEM education, NASA’s collaborations with SpaceX for the May 2020 SpaceX launch, and how the US government plans to continue commercial partnerships for space exploration in the future.
Women’s Right to Vote & The 19th Amendment (w/ Dr. Colleen Shogan)
Celebrating 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which states that voting rights cannot be denied on the basis of sex! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Colleen Shogan (Vice Chair of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission) on the Suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote, the historical context of the fight for women’s suffrage, and the impact women have had on voting and politics in the last 100 years.
Visit the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission website here: https://www.womensvote100.org/
The Youth Vote & The 26th Amendment (w/ Dr. Robert McDonald)
“Old Enough to Fight, Old Enough to Vote” and how the youth vote has impacted American politics since the ratification of the 26th Amendment in 1971. Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview the United States Military Academy at Westpoint’s Dr. Robert McDonald on the path to lowering the national voting age to 18, the public’s reception of the 26th Amendment, and the impact of the youth vote in the last 49 years.
Censorship on Social Media (w/ Dr. Brad Smith)
What is the government’s role in regulating social media and online speech? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Brad Smith about free speech, Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, and the responsibilities of individual social networks and the government.
The Senate & The 17th Amendment (w/ Professor William Morrisey)
The 17th Amendment made U.S. Senators directly elected by their constituents rather than selected by state legislatures – how does this change affect the way our federal government works? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Hillsdale College’s Professor William Morrisey on how direct election of senators altered the balance of power in Congress.
Coronavirus & The Economy (w/ Rachel Greszler)
How Do You Afford COVID-19’s Bite Into Your Health & Pocketbook? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview economist Rachel Greszler (Heritage Foundation Research Fellow in Economics, Budget, and Entitlements) on the impacts Coronavirus has already had on the American and global economy, and what trend data suggests could happen going forward.
COVID-19, Congress, & China (w/ Representative Adam Kinzinger, Senator Marsha Blackburn, & Peter Roff)
The Coronavirus pandemic and Congress’s role in domestic policy and holding China accountable. Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Representative Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Senator Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Peter Roff on the federal legislature’s role during the COVID-19 crisis.
Edison, Inventions, & Patent Law (w/ Dr. Paul Israel)
Thomas Edison’s life as an inventor, patent holder, and businessman! Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Paul Israel on Thomas Edison’s creations, impacts on trading and purchasing patents, and legacy.
Pandemic in American History – The Spanish Flu (w/ Dr. Jennifer Keene)
How America’s past experience with the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 compares to today’s Coronavirus experience. Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Dr. Jennifer Keene on the Spanish Flu and World War I, and how these experiences relate to and inform the US’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lincoln & The Emancipation Proclamation (w/ Scot Faulkner)
The causes and effects of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Scot Faulkner on the Battle of Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the effects on potential European intervention in the Civil War.
COVID-19 & Religious Liberty, Elections, and Movement (w/ Professor Joerg Knipprath)
Coronavirus and state stay-at-home orders: what is Constitutional and what is unconstitutional? Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Professor Joerg Knipprath regarding the Constitutionality of the COVID-19 quarantine and government orders, especially as it relates to religious liberty and practice, election accessibility, and movement.
Abraham Lincoln’s Address at Cooper Union (w/ James Best)
How Abraham Lincoln’s address at Cooper Union drew upon the viewpoints of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America to urge Northerners to action in the early 1860s. Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview author James D. Best on then-Presidential-hopeful Abraham Lincoln’s address at Cooper Union in New York City.
America’s Promise (w/ Bob Woodson)
“America should not be defined by its failures…America should be defined by its promises.” Actress Janine Turner, Cathy Gillespie, and Constituting America Student Ambassadors Tova Love Kaplan and Dakare Chatman interview Bob Woodson on his 1776 Unites project and his views on America’s struggles and promise.