22 episodes

What does it mean to be a Constitutional Republic? Join host Adam White, producer Tal Fortgang, and guests as they examine the roles of Congress, the president, the courts, and many other American institutions in keeping a republic.

Unprecedential American Enterprise Institute

    • Government
    • 5.0, 7 Ratings

What does it mean to be a Constitutional Republic? Join host Adam White, producer Tal Fortgang, and guests as they examine the roles of Congress, the president, the courts, and many other American institutions in keeping a republic.

    The Cost of Greatness: Jay Cost on the Bank of the United States

    The Cost of Greatness: Jay Cost on the Bank of the United States

    When George Washington’s

    Administration proposed to create a national bank, it exploded divisions among

    Americans—and, more specifically, among Alexander Hamilton and James

    Madison—about what our Constitution means. The Bank, and the arguments

    surrounding it, continue to echo today.







    To discuss the Bank of the United States, Adam was joined on the podcast by AEI’s own Jay Cost, who has written about Madison’s concerns that the Bank and other federal initiatives would foster corruption and oligarchy. (See especially his recent two-part AEI essay series.) Jay and Adam discuss problems inherent in factionalism, private-public partnerships, established churches—and whether Madison would have ever admitted that Hamilton was right about the Bank.







    This discussion follows previous Unprecedential episodes on McCulloch v. Maryland (with Gary Schmitt and Nelson Lund) and on Madison’s notion of constitutional “liquidation” (with Will Baude).

    • 50 min
    Judicial legitimacy

    Judicial legitimacy

    The Supreme Court, entrusted by the Constitution with “the judicial power,” is said to wield “neither force, nor will, but merely judgment.” To that end, the Constitution gives judges significant independence from political reprisal. Yet the institution as a whole remains part of our political system. The justices are appointed by politicians. Even the number of justices on the Court, set merely by statute and always subject to the possibility of amendment, is preserved only by tradition and political restraint. 







    How, then, does the independent Court maintain its legitimacy? Can unpopular decisions from a body not democratically elected undermine its ability to maintain its proper role in American governance? Michael Greve, author of a recent essay on judicial “legitimacy” and the current Roberts Court, joins Adam and Tal to work through some of these most challenging issues.

    • 46 min
    McCulloch v Maryland at 200

    McCulloch v Maryland at 200

    For the 200th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in McCulloch v. Maryland, AEI’s Program on American Citizenship commissioned six distinguished scholars to author essays related to that decision. Gary Schmitt, the editor of the volume, provides an introduction with his essay, “John Marshall and the Politics of McCulloch v. Maryland.” Nelson Lund of George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School offers his criticisms in “The Destructive Legacy of McCulloch v. Maryland.” And finally, Unprecedential’s own Adam White defends Chief Justice Marshall’s decision with “McCulloch v. Maryland and John Marshall’s Judicial Statesmanship.”







    All three authors join this special episode of Unprecedential to discuss their views on the landmark case that touched on so many fundamental questions of constitutional governance.

    • 55 min
    Congress’s Proxy Wars

    Congress’s Proxy Wars

    The House of Representatives has resolved to allow members of Congress to vote by proxy. Some members of the House, led by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the measure, citing the lack of historical precedent for a measure allowing Representatives to vote from beyond the House.







    To discuss the case, and the broader question of how Congress does its constitutional work in times of crisis, we bring you a special two-part episode. Part One features Chuck Cooper and Joel Alicea, two of the lead lawyers arguing against the resolution’s constitutionality. In Part Two we welcome several experts on congressional procedure and precedent: Kevin Kosar, Michael Stern, and James Wallner.

    • 1 hr 22 min
    Et tu, Brutus? The Anti-Federalists as cofounders

    Et tu, Brutus? The Anti-Federalists as cofounders

    When we talk about “the Founders” of the United States, we often think of the 55 men of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, 1787. We might even think of the great defenders of the Constitution that emerged from the Convention, such as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. But to understand the Constitutional republic we have, we must listen not just to its supporters but its detractors – known as the Anti-Federalists – lest we run the risk of playing judge while considering only one party’s brief.







    Judge Andrew Oldham of the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is accustomed to giving both sides their due, and as such set out to explore the argument of the Anti-Federalists, in essays collected by the late Herbert Storing in ‘The Complete Anti-Federalist’. Why were they so worried about the Executive Branch? What can they tell us about today’s administrative state? And how should their arguments inform current debates about the Constitution’s original public meaning? Judge Oldham joins Unprecedential to cover all this and more.







    Links: – Judge Oldham’s article, “The Anti-Federalists: Past as Prologue” – Assorted works of Herbert Storing

    • 41 min
    Precedents and the search for constitutional meaning

    Precedents and the search for constitutional meaning

    In Federalist 37, James Madison conceded that even the best lawmakers cannot write perfectly clear laws. “All written laws,” whether the Constitution or in statutes, “are considered as more or less obscure and equivocal, until their meaning be liquidated and ascertained by a series of particular discussions and adjudications”. These discussions happen not just in courts but in the course of actual administration. 







    So, when a law’s original meaning is not clear, its ambiguities can be resolved — “liquidated” — by the people themselves, through the settlement of precedents set by judges and statesmen alike. To discuss this underappreciated part of republican self-government, and its relation to more familiar notions of judicial stare decisis, Adam welcomes William Baude of the University of Chicago, author of two recent articles on these subjects.







    Additional Resources: – Precedent and Discretion – Constitutional Liquidation

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
7 Ratings

7 Ratings

Jgf1600 ,

One of the best

One of the best pods in politics. Yes, Jackson thought he was a tyrant but he wasn’t exactly Wilson. Pls explain why you bleep his name on the next pod!

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