We the People
We the People
National Constitution Center
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 Constitution Drafting Project
The National Constitution Center’s Constitution Drafting Project brought together three teams of leading constitutional scholars—team libertarian, team progressive, and team conservative—to draft and present their ideal constitutions. The leaders of each team—Caroline Frederickson of team progressive, Ilya Shapiro of team libertarian, and Ilan Wurman of team conservative—joined host Jeffrey Rosen to share the process behind their approach to drafting their constitutions and agreeing on what to include and not to include; the overall structure of their constitutions as well as the specific constitutional ideas they added to and subtracted from the U.S. Constitution; and the similarities and differences between the three constitutions. Team libertarian also included Timothy Sandefur of the Goldwater Institute and Christina Mulligan of Brooklyn Law School. Team progressive also included Jamal Greene of Columbia Law School and Melissa Murray of New York University School of Law. Team conservative also included Robert P. George of Princeton University, Michael McConnell of Stanford Law School, and Colleen A. Sheehan of Arizona State University. The project was generously supported by Jeff Yass. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Nov 26
1 hr 11 min
Live at the NCC: The Past Four Years
A panel of experts from across the ideological spectrum joined National Constitution Center President Jeffrey Rosen on November 11 to consider what the 2020 election and its aftermath demonstrates about the political parties, polarization, and the state of American democracy today. They also explored how debates over what “truth” means have grown over the last four years, how that manifested in the election and its results, and where we’re headed next including the future of American values like free speech. The panel features Anne Applebaum and Yascha Mounk of the SNF Agora Institute and The Atlantic, David French of The Dispatch, and Charles Kesler of Claremont McKenna College. This episode originally aired on our companion podcast, Live at the National Constituiton Center, which shares live constitutional conversations hosted by the Center. Listen and subscribe or follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. Register to watch future programs live as Zoom webinars where you can ask your constitutional questions in the Q&A box. This program was presented in partnership with the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
Nov 19
58 min
The Affordable Care Act Back at the Supreme Court
This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in California v. Texas—a recent lawsuit bringing another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. In 2012, in NFIB v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court upheld the ACA as constitutional exercise of Congress’s taxing power; but Congress in 2017 eliminated the individual mandate which served as a basis for the tax rationale—and a group of states and individual plaintiffs sued to challenge the law’s validity once again. This episode recaps the arguments and how the justices—including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose faced many questions about the ACA during her confirmation hearings— reacted to the arguments on both sides. Host Jeffrey Rosen was joined by two experts on the Affordable Care Act and the Constitution: Abbe Gluck of Yale Law School, author of The Trillion Dollar Revolution: How the Affordable Care Act Transformed Politics, Law, and Health Care in America, and Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute, author of Religious Liberties for Corporations? Hobby Lobby, the Affordable Care Act, and the Constitution. Some terms that will be helpful to know for this week: Standing: the ability of a person or party to bring a lawsuit in court. For instance, if the person who brings the lawsuit has suffered some “injury” or will be likely to suffer an injury if a particular wrong is not remedied, they may have standing to bring the case. Severability: a legal principle that allows an unconstitutional or unenforceable provision or part of law to be “severed” out from the rest of the law, leaving the remaining parts of the law intact and in force. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Nov 12
57 min
Religious Groups, Foster Care, and the First Amendment
On November 4, as the nation watched and waited for election results, the Supreme Court continued business as usual, hearing oral arguments in one of the term’s key cases—Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. This lawsuit was brought by Catholic Social Services (CSS), a foster-care organization that works with the city of Philadelphia to certify prospective foster parents. When the city found out that CSS, due it its religious beliefs, would not certify unmarried or same-sex married couples to be foster parents, the city cut off foster-parent referrals to CSS, and CSS filed suit. To explain the case, recap the arguments on both sides, and explore the major implications a decision may have for how to balance anti-discrimination laws and religious freedom under the First Amendment—host Jeffrey Rosen was joined by Leah Litman, Michigan Law Professor and host of the Supreme Court podcast Strict Scrutiny, and Jonathan Adler, Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and contributing editor to National Review Online.   Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Nov 5
46 min
United States v. Google
The Justice Department recently filed a lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of illegally maintaining monopolies over search and search advertising. This week’s episode details the ins and outs of the lawsuit, the allegations the government makes against Google, and what all this might mean for similar companies like Apple and the future of Big Tech. To figure out how we got here, we also look to the history of antitrust, including what happened when a similar lawsuit was brought against Microsoft. Leading experts on technology, antitrust, and the Constitution Tim Wu of Columbia Law School and Adam White of George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School join host Jeffrey Rosen. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Oct 29
59 min
Election 2020 in the Courts
As the 2020 election quickly approaches, the Supreme Court issued two key rulings on state election laws this week—ruling 5-3 in Merill v. People First of Alabama to prevent counties from offering curbside voting in Alabama, and, in Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Boockvar, upholding Pennsylvania’s extension of its mail-in ballot deadline by a 4-4 vote. This episode recaps those rulings, explores other key election-related cases before courts around the country, and explains the constitutional dimensions of legal battles over voting including why and how a court decides when state laws rise to the level of disenfranchisement or not. Emily Bazelon of the New York Times Magazine and co-host of Slate’s podcast “Political Gabfest”, and Bradley Smith, professor at Capital University Law School who previously served on the Federal Election Commission, join host Jeffrey Rosen. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Oct 22
53 min
Barrett Confirmation Hearings Recap
This week’s episode recaps the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, discussing what the hearings revealed about Judge Barrett’s career, her judicial philosophy, and her approach to stare decisis and constitutional interpretation including her views on originalism, and how, if confirmed, Justice Barrett might rule on legal questions including: the recent challenge to the Affordable Care Act, reproductive rights, presidential power, any disputes arising from the 2020 election, the Second Amendment, religious liberty, race and criminal justice, and more. Kate Shaw, Professor at Cardozo Law School and co-host of the Supreme Court podcast Strict Scrutiny, and Michael Moreland, University Professor of Law and Religion at Villanova Law, join host Jeffrey Rosen. Terms that will be helpful to know for this week: Stare decisis: Latin for “to stand by things decided”; the doctrine of precedent—adhering to prior judicial rulings. Originalism: a judicial philosophy of constitutional interpretation holding that the words in the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted as they were understood at the time they were written. “Super precedents”: Landmark Supreme Court decisions whose correctness, according to many, is no longer a viable issue for courts to decide and so are unlikely to be overturned. Severability: a principle by which a court might strike down one portion of a law but the remaining provisions, or the remaining applications of those provisions, will continue to remain in effect. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Oct 15
54 min
The Pandemic, the President and the 25th Amendment
In light of President Trump and numerous other high-ranking government officials recently contracting COVID-19, this week’s episode explores the 25th Amendment, which outlines what happens if the president becomes unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. We explore questions related to current concerns including: should President Trump have invoked the 25th Amendment when he was in the hospital? And questions that have arisen throughout American history such as: What happens if a vacancy in the office of president or vice president arises? What mechanisms does the 25th Amendment lay out for coping with that situation, and what scenarios does it fail to provide solutions for? What if the president is unable to fill his role but won’t step aside? And more. Host Jeffrey Rosen is joined by constitutional scholars David Pozen and Brian Kalt, who wrote an essay explaining the 25th Amendment for the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution which you can read here https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/interpretation/amendment-xxv/interps/159   Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Oct 8
51 min
Supreme Court 2020 Term Preview
The new U.S. Supreme Court term is set to begin Monday, October 5, the first day of remote oral arguments. To preview what’s ahead, Adam Liptak, Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, and Marcia Coyle, Supreme Court correspondent for the Center’s blog Constitution Daily and Chief Washington correspondent for The National Law Journal, joined host Jeffrey Rosen. They explored how the election and the forthcoming confirmation battle over Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination might affect the Court, how the Court might shift with the addition of a new ninth justice, and the key cases to be heard this term including: California v. Texas (the most recent challenge to the Affordable Care Act) Fulton v. Philadelphia (a case asking whether religious organizations must allow same-sex couples to become foster parents, and whether the Court should revisit its decision in Employment Division v. Smith) Torres v. Madrid (a police violence case asking when physical force constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment) Tanzin v. Tanvir (a lawsuit related to the “no-fly list” and whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 allows lawsuits for money damages against federal agents) Carney v. Adams (a case about the First Amendment and state judges’ partisan affiliations) Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Oct 1
53 min
The 19th-Century History of Court Packing
Following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republicans have promised to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice swiftly, before the imminent presidential election. If the Republican-led Senate confirms a new nominee either before or closely after the November election, some Democrats have said they will respond by attempting to “pack”—or add justices—to the Supreme Court. This week’s episode looks to history, particularly to the 19th century and the Civil War era, to see what lessons from historic battles over the composition of the Court might teach us today. Host Jeffrey Rosen is joined by two renowned constitutional historians —Tim Huebner of Rhodes College and Mark Graber of the University of Maryland Carey Law School. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Sep 24
48 min
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