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We the People

Author: National Constitution Center

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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.

273 Episodes
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Conversations with RBG

Conversations with RBG

2019-11-0701:08:31

This week, we’re celebrating the launch of host Jeffrey Rosen’s newest book, Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law—an informal portrait of the justice through an extraordinary series of conversations, starting in the 1990s and continuing to today. Jeff has collected Justice Ginsburg’s wisdom from their many conversations on the future of the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade, which Supreme Court decisions she would like to see overturned, the #MeToo movement, and how to lead a productive, compassionate life – illuminating the determination, self-mastery, and wit of the “Notorious RBG.” Dahlia Lithwick, veteran Supreme Court reporter and host of the Slate podcast Amicus, moderates.Check out Conversations with RBG on Amazon and listen to the audiobook on Audible. The audiobook also has its very own Alexa skill – Ask RBG. You can ask your Amazon echo things like, “Alexa, ask RBG about the #MeToo movement” and you’ll hear clips from the real-life interviews with Justice Ginsburg featured in the audiobook.This episode is a crossover with our companion podcast, Live at America’s Town Hall – live constitutional conversations held here at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and across America – which is available wherever you get your podcasts.
Brexit, the UK’s campaign to leave the European Union, has sparked ongoing political and constitutional controversy. However, the UK doesn’t have a written constitution — it is governed by a set of laws, norms, conventions, judicial decisions, and treaties — and Brexit has led some to think that needs to change. This episode dives into that debate over the UK’s unwritten constitution as well as other key Brexit-related issues including Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempts to “prorogue” Parliament and the ensuing UK Supreme Court decision, parliamentary sovereignty, and the role of referenda. Two leading experts on those topics –Meg Russell, Director of the Constitution Unit at University College London, and Kim Lane Scheppele, Professor of International Affairs at Princeton University phone in from London for a conversation with host Jeffrey Rosen. A term that is helpful to know for this week:Prorogation - brings the current session of Parliament to an end. While Parliament is prorogued, neither House can meet, debate or pass legislation, or debate government policy. In general, bills which have not yet been passed are lost and will have to start again from scratch in the next session. The Crown decides when Parliament can be prorogued, but, typically, the Prime Minister advises the Crown to prorogue and that request is accepted.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
How should impeachment be carried out, according to the Constitution? This episode explores the constitutional process of impeachment, from investigation and passage of articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives, to the Senate trial, and the aftermath. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment, and Gene Healy, author of Indispensable Remedy: The Broad Scope of the Constitution’s Impeachment Power detail the constitutional framework under which impeachment has been carried out in the past, how those precedents compare to what’s happening today, and what might happen next. Jeffrey Rosen hosts.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination “because of… sex.” Last week, a trio of cases that raise the question of whether Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation and/or gender identity were argued before the Supreme Court. Two of these cases – Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia and Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. – are lawsuits brought by employees who claim they were fired for being gay, and are suing their employers. The third case – R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC – centers around Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who says she was fired from her job at a funeral home because of her gender identity. On this episode, Karen Loewy, Senior Counsel for LGBTQ legal advocacy organization Lambda Legal, and Professor David Upham of the University of Dallas – who both wrote briefs in these cases – explain the arguments on both sides, analyze the Justices’ reactions at oral argument, and predict the potential social and legal consequences of these cases.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Last week, the National Constitution Center travelled to Washington, DC to host Clerks at 100 – a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the federal statute instituting Supreme Court clerkships that brought together hundreds of former clerks. Supreme Court clerks assist the justices with researching and drafting opinions and other work critical to the function of the Court. The day before the reunion, the NCC hosted a symposium in partnership with the George Washington Law Review at GW Law School featuring former clerks to discuss that special experience. This episode features NCC President Jeffrey Rosen’s conversation with Judges Diane Wood and Jeff Sutton, who shared how their clerkship experience affected them personally and professionally and shaped their methods of interpreting the Constitution. Judge Wood clerked for Justice Harry Blackmun and serves as Chief Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and Judge Sutton, who sits on the 6th Circuit, clerked for retired Justice Lewis Powell and Justice Antonin Scalia.  Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
This week, We the People partnered with SCOTUSblog's podcast SCOTUStalk for a live preview of the Supreme Court's 2019 term – recording our show in front of a live National Constitution Center audience for the first time! Host Jeffrey Rosen was joined by SCOTUSblog's Amy Howe and John Elwood to preview the blockbuster cases of the upcoming term, on topics including LGBTQ rights under Title VII, immigration policies like DACA, the Second Amendment, school choice and the free exercise of religion, and more.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
This week, the National Constitution Center in partnership with The Atlantic launched a new web project: “The Battle for the Constitution”— a year-long exploration of the major issues and controversies surrounding the Constitution today from all sides of the debate. At the Atlantic Ideas Festival yesterday, the NCC and the Atlantic celebrated the project launch with a series of panels featuring scholars, journalists and legislators. They discussed the breaking news of the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump, as well as what separation of powers means in U.S. government today. Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the NCC, kicked off the discussion in conversation with Martha Jones, professor of history at John Hopkins University, John Malcolm, Vice President for Constitution Government at the Heritage Foundation, and Quinta Jurecic, managing editor at Lawfare. Later, Representatives Lance Gooden (R-TX) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) spoke about their views on the impeachment question and the proper exercise of congressional power.
Justice Neil Gorsuch visited the National Constitution Center to celebrate Constitution Day and discuss his new book A Republic, If You Can Keep It. Justice Gorsuch, the Honorary Chair of the National Constitution Center’s Board of Trustees, sat down with President Jeffrey Rosen to discuss his passion for civics and civility, the importance of separation of powers, what originalism means to him, and why he is optimistic about the future of America.This episode is a crossover with our companion podcast Live at America’s Town Hall — live  constitutional conversations held here at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and around the country — which is available wherever you get your podcasts.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Madison vs. Mason

Madison vs. Mason

2019-09-1201:00:472

James Madison and George Mason, both Virginian Founding Fathers, diverged on some of the biggest debates of the Constitutional Convention—including the proper distribution of power between national and local government, the future of the slave trade, and whether or not the Constitution should have a Bill of Rights. Exploring these debates and their impact on the Constitution – scholars Colleen Sheehan and Jeff Broadwater join host Jeffrey Rosen. They dive into the core of the constitutional visions and ideas of Madison and Mason.  Next Tuesday, September 17th, is Constitution Day – the anniversary of the signing of our constitution back in 1787. To learn more about the National Constitution Center’s Constitution Day programming, including the launch of our upgraded Interactive Constitution, visit constitutioncenter.org/learn.  Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
What are “nationwide injunctions”? When and why are they issued by federal courts? Have they been invoked more frequently in recent years, and, if so, how is that affecting how laws or executive orders are implemented nationwide? And is the term “nationwide injunctions” itself actually a misnomer? Two experts on these broad kinds of injunctions, Amanda Frost of American University’s Washington College of Law and Howard Wasserman of Florida International University, answer those questions. They also detail how nationwide injunctions have been used to block policies of both President Obama and President Trump – including immigration policies like DAPA and DACA under President Obama, and the so-called “travel ban” and third country asylum rule under President Trump – as well as civil rights policies like President Obama’s protections for transgender students using bathrooms that match their identities and President Trump’s ban on people with gender dysphoria serving in the military. Jeffrey Rosen hosts.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
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Comments (4)

Nonya Bizness

episode #231: there is a huge constitutional and statutory difference between trump, or any president, declaring an emergency AND THEN reallocating funds to address the emergency, versus declaring an emergency IN ORDER TO reallocate the funds. also, the word 'emergency' might be defined as an unforeseen negative event requiring urgent action. no one can rationally say that any aspect of the southern border issue currently meets the definition of an 'emergency'. trump has been unchanging in his assessment of the border for three years. data clearly shows a decades-long downward trend in border crossings. so objectively, any issue with crossings at the border is not unforeseen, is decelerating, and is already being addressed by cbp in an orderly, effective way. lastly, whether or not emergency powers or the constitution itself authorizes the president to appropriate an emergency fund to build a military structure, and whether or not the the wall could be considered a military structure, when one takes into consideration the theories behind both the posse comitatus act and, in particular, the third amendment to the constitution, it would seem that the seizure of land to build a wall is on very shaky ground. the third amendment explicitly prohibits the military from even temporarily occupying private property during peacetime, so it would seem to clearly prohibit the permanent seizure of it for military use. the example given, of funds appropriated for barracks being constructed, would be assumed to take place on foriegn soil, not on american land, and most especially not on private property. for a national emergency declaration used to apprpriate wall money to be constitutional, it may be that, at minimum, a war on mexico would have to be declared.

Jan 26th
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Nonya Bizness

episode #221: it seems to me the original issue is that whether sessions quit or got fired. if fired, trump cannot constitutionally appoint a replacement. sessions was carefully cryptic in his 'resignation letter', saying "at your request, i am submitting my resignation". in any other context, we know that to be a forced resignation- i.e. being gracefully fired. if debated, my question would be, why did sessions phrase it such? a usual, voluntary resignation would leave of sessions's key words "at your request" for clarity's sake. sessions is a lawyer, and knows that words and the constitution matter.

Dec 2nd
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Jeffery H

Great debate on birthright citizenship in "We The People" podcast fm National Constitution Center! But how often does immigration position pre-determine belief in constitutionality of birthright citizenship? Post-hoc reasoning and confirmation bias is the enemy here

Nov 26th
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Jeffery H

Amazing podcast "We The People" episode on The AG and Constitutional Oversight from National Constitution Center. Very sad & scared important info like this doesnt get more interest

Nov 26th
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