336 episodes

A weekly show of constitutional debate hosted by National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen where listeners can hear the best arguments on all sides of the constitutional issues at the center of American life.

We the People National Constitution Center

    • News Commentary

A weekly show of constitutional debate hosted by National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen where listeners can hear the best arguments on all sides of the constitutional issues at the center of American life.

    The Second Impeachment of President Trump

    The Second Impeachment of President Trump

    The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for a second time this week, with a vote of 232 in favor, 197 against, and 4 not voting. Prior to the vote, host Jeffrey Rosen sat down with two experts on the Constitution and presidential power—Cristina Rodriguez of Yale Law School and Michael McConnell of Stanford Law School. They shared their thoughts on the article of impeachment passed by the House; the charge against President Trump of incitement of insurrection in the wake of the mob invasion of the U.S. Capitol; the meaning of high crimes and misdemeanors under the Impeachment Clause; if Section 3 of the 14th Amendment should be invoked to disqualify President Trump from holding office again; how the current media and information landscape may have contributed to polarization and events culminating in the riot; what reforms might help; and more. Professor McConnell is the author of the new book The President Who Would Not be King, and professor Rodriguez is the co-author, with Adam Cox, of The President and Immigration Law.

    Additional resources and transcripts available at constitutioncenter.org/constitution/media-library

    Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

    • 43 min
    The Mob, the Capitol, and the Constitution

    The Mob, the Capitol, and the Constitution

    In the early morning on January 7, 2021, Congress certified President-elect Biden’s Electoral College victory after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. This episode reflects on the historic and constitutional significance of the events of “a date which will live in constitutional history.” Host Jeffrey Rosen was joined by Judge J. Michael Luttig, formerly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of Berkeley Law. They discuss the president’s debunked claims about the 2020 election results that sparked the riot; whether President Trump’s words at a rally held in Washington, D.C., on January 6 count as incitement under the law; what the blocking of President Trump’s social media accounts by Facebook and Twitter afterward means for freedom of speech; and what the unprecedented nature of the events means for the future of the country.

    Additional resources and transcripts available at constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/media-library.
    Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

    • 51 min
    Live at the NCC: The Founders and the Greeks and Romans

    Live at the NCC: The Founders and the Greeks and Romans

    A panel of experts dives into what early American founding figures—including Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams, George Washington, Mercy Otis Warren, and Phyllis Wheatley—learned from the Greeks and Romans, from their early education through adulthood, and how that knowledge came to influence founding documents such as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and the scope and shape of the American republic. They also explore the founders’ philosophical understanding of passion versus reason, the meaning of “happiness,” and how ancient philosophy continued to influence American democracy throughout turbulent times including the Civil War. Historians and authors Caroline Winterer and Carl Richard and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas Ricks joined National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen.
    This program originally aired on our companion podcast, Live at the National Constitution Center. Check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to catch up on the live constitutional conversations we hosted in 2020.

    Additional resources and transcript available at constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/media-library
    Questions or comments? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

    • 57 min
    2020: A Constitutional Year in Review

    2020: A Constitutional Year in Review

    2020 was a tumultuous and eventful year—starting with the impeachment trial, and then the COVID-19 pandemic, crucial conversations about racial inequality, the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, as well as the 2020 presidential election and ensuing court battles over it. How did the Constitution, and American institutions, prevail throughout? John Yoo, a professor at Berkeley Law who previously served in the Bush administration’s Justice Department, and Melissa Murray, a professor at NYU and co-host of the Supreme Court podcast Strict Scrutiny, reflect on that question and look back at the major events of 2020 through a constitutional lens. Jeffrey Rosen hosts.

    Additional resources and transcript available at https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/media-library.

    Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

    • 57 min
    Can the President Pardon Himself?

    Can the President Pardon Himself?

    Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution says the president “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” This episode explores presidential pardons past and present—from Thomas Jefferson’s pardons of people convicted under the Sedition Act, through President Carter pardoning Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush pardoning those involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, to President Trump’s exercise of the pardon power today. Experts Brian Kalt of Michigan State Law School and Saikrishna Prakash of the University of Virginia Law School answer questions including: Can the president pardon himself? What does the history say? What are the limits of the pardon power? Does someone admit guilt when they accept a pardon? How might the Supreme Court rule on pardons? And more, in conversation with host Jeffrey Rosen. 

    Additional resources and a transcript are available at constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/media-library.

    Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

    • 1 hr
    Religion, the Constitution, and COVID-19 Restrictions

    Religion, the Constitution, and COVID-19 Restrictions

    In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo (2020), the Supreme Court recently granted a preliminary injunction against (i.e. temporarily blocked) New York’s COVID-19 restrictions on attendance at houses of worship (pending further litigation), siding with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two orthodox Jewish synagogues, who argued that the restrictions violated the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment. Constitutional law experts Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School and David French of The Dispatch join host Jeffrey Rosen to unpack the decision, the restrictions at issue, and broader questions including: Has the Supreme Court become more open to claims of religious discrimination? And, in the context of the ongoing pandemic, does and should the Supreme Court still apply its usual judicial tests to determine if something is constitutional? They also explain the role of prior cases crucial to understanding the modern debate in the area of religious freedom law—from Employment Division v. Smith to Masterpiece Cakeshop and beyond.

    Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.

    • 1 hr 6 min

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