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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.
252 Episodes
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Investigations into several leading big tech companies – including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon – began on Tuesday as the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the role of such companies in the decline of the news industry. Prior to the hearings, host Jeffrey Rosen sat down with anti-trust law experts Mark Jamison of the American Enterprise Institute and Barry Lynn of the Open Markets Institute to ask: if these investigations lead to increased government regulation—what might the consequences be–for big tech, antitrust law, and for the Constitution? Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
What’s at stake, for the Constitution and the Supreme Court, in the 2020 election? If President Trump is re-elected and has the chance to appoint more Supreme Court justices, will the Court—and the country—fundamentally transform in a way not seen in generations? Professors and constitutional theorists Bruce Ackerman of Yale Law School and Randy Barnett of Georgetown University Law Center explore these questions and more in a wide-ranging discussion with host Jeffrey Rosen. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
In part two of our discussion on abortion and the Constitution – David French of National Review and reproductive rights historian Mary Ziegler of Florida State College of Law join host Jeffrey Rosen. French and Ziegler break down the recent Supreme Court decision in Box v. Planned Parenthood, and the related legal debates surrounding “fetal dignity” and fetal rights. Exploring Justice Thomas’ concurrence in Box – French explains why he thinks Thomas is once again “throwing down the gauntlet” on the constitutional underpinnings of abortion rights. Next, these experts explore the history and resurgence of the “fetal personhood” movement, which asserts that fetuses have certain constitutional rights, including the right to life. French and Ziegler trace the movement’s history and analyze the strategies of states like Alabama and Georgia that have passed new laws attempting to protect the personhood of the fetus.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
The increasing number of new laws restricting abortion recently passed in numerous states around the country has some wondering: is Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion at risk? On this episode, we dive into landmark abortion precedent from Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade through Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, tracing the evolution of abortion jurisprudence under the Constitution. We also discuss the variety of new laws aimed at restricting access to abortion, and how current justices may rule on upcoming challenges to these laws—whether they will be upheld or struck down. Host Jeffrey Rosen is joined by Kathryn Kolbert, a reproductive rights lawyer who argued on behalf of Planned Parenthood in the Casey case, and Clarke Forsythe, Senior Counsel at Americans United for Life. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
In light of the ongoing subpoena fights between Congress and the president and the House Judiciary Committee’s vote to hold Attorney General Barr in contempt for refusing to release the full Mueller report—this episode addresses the questions: Are we in a constitutional crisis? Or are these normal disputes occurring within our constitutional system? Have we been here before? Adam Liptak of The New York Times and Keith Whittington of Princeton University join host Jeffrey Rosen to answer these questions. They explore legal precedent set by previous disputes between Congress and the president, and historical analogs from the Civil War through the Nixon and Clinton administrations. They also give their take on what might happen next, including how the Supreme Court might rule on the question, if asked to do so. Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
On May 7, host Jeffrey Rosen sat down with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to celebrate the opening of the National Constitution Center’s new permanent exhibit – ‘Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality.’ The exhibit is America’s first devoted to exploring how constitutional clashes over slavery set the stage for the Civil War, and how the nation transformed the Constitution after the war with the addition of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. Professor Gates discussed the new exhibit in addition to his PBS series about Reconstruction and two new books—"Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow" and a young adult book "Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow." Gates told the story of the advancements of Reconstruction and the Reconstruction Amendments, how those advancements were thwarted by Jim Crow laws like poll taxes, vagrancy laws, and the rise of hate groups, how the Civil Rights Movement fought against that backlash, and how we are still dealing with many of these issues and challenges today.  If you enjoyed this constitutional conversation, please listen and subscribe to our companion podcast, Live at America's Town Hall, on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
Would adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census—which a lawsuit argues could dissuade people from responding to it—violate the Constitution’s enumeration clause, which requires that an “actual enumeration,” or a counting, of all Americans be performed every ten years? Does it matter how and why the question is added? Tom Wolf, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, and John Eastman, Professor at Chapman University School of Law, join host Jeffrey Rosen to debate these questions. They discuss the pending Supreme Court case Department of Commerce v. New York, in which numerous states are suing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross over his decision to add a citizenship question to the census.  Wolf and Eastman consider how Ross’s motive for asking about citizenship on the census might affect how the justices rule on the case, and offer a helpful historical deep dive into the census itself and its inclusion of questions regarding citizenship.Questions or comments about the podcast? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
This episode sheds constitutional light on the Mueller report, focusing on the question of obstruction. We explore what Special Counsel Robert Mueller did and did not conclude about obstruction, explain the “corrupt intent” requirement for an obstruction charge, and grapple with the constitutional question as to whether the president can commit obstruction. Our guests also address the question: in the aftermath of the Mueller report, what should Congress do, and what are the lessons for future Attorneys General in similar situations? Mary McCord, senior litigator at the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center, and Josh Blackman, associate professor of law at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, join host Jeffrey Rosen.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
The indictment of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for conspiracy to hack into a classified government computer has reignited the debate over the question: what is the line between First Amendment-protected journalism and cyber-crime? On this episode, two leading experts on the intersection of the First Amendment and national security–Josh Geltzer of Georgetown University Law Center and Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project—join host Jeffrey Rosen to consider whether Assange’s indictment poses a threat to press freedom.Questions or comments about the show? Email us at podcast@constitutioncenter.org.
How did a Vietnam War veteran’s request for disability benefits turn into one of the key Supreme Court cases of this term, one with major implications for the future of the administrative state? In this episode, administrative law experts Jonathan Adler of Case Western Law School and Ron Levin of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law explain the issues in this case, Kisor v. Wilkie. They join host Jeffrey Rosen to unpack Kisor and the administrative law deference doctrine, known as “Auer deference,” at the center of the dispute. They also break down other administrative law doctrines like “Chevron” and “Skidmore” deference and the non-delegation doctrine, explaining why they’re so important and at times, controversial. For more information and resources, visit constitutioncenter.org/podcasts. Questions or comments about the podcast? 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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