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Your Weekly Constitutional

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Location:

Roanoke, VA

Language:

English

Contact:

James Madison's Montpelier P.O. Box 911 Orange, VA 22960 540.672.2728, x450


Episodes

Presidential Immunity and an Update from Democracy Cafe.

9/22/2017
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Can you sue the President of the United States? Sure. But will a court hear the case? In legal terms, is the President immune from civil claims? We’ll speak with Doug McKechnie, our First Amendment Guy, who’s just written a very timely article on the subject. We’ll also hear from our good friend, Christopher Phillips, about the latest developments with his ongoing project, Democracy Café.

Duration: 00:52:59


The Color of Law

8/30/2017
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Do you know the difference between de facto and de jure? They’re Latin terms, the first of which means “in effect,” and the second of which means “according to the law.” The distinction is important, since, generally, there is no constitutional remedy for wrongs that are de facto, only for those that are de jure. Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute has written a new book, The Color of Law, which exposes the myth that segregated housing patterns in the United States are...

Duration: 00:54:18


The Death of Caesar

8/21/2017
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Julius Caesar died over two thousand years ago, on March 15, 44 BC. So why are we talking about him now? Well, because our Founders talked about him, and about others involved the Fall of the Roman Republic, and they talked about them a lot. You see, the Roman Republic was perhaps the most successful republic in history before it failed in the face of demagoguery and tyranny. Could the same fate befall our republic? We’ll talk to Barry Strauss, professor of history and classics at Cornell...

Duration: 00:53:58


Brexit Revisited

8/15/2017
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It’s been a year since the historic referendum in favor of Brexit, the British Exit from the European Union. But while negotiations over this fundamental change to the British Constitution have just begun, that doesn’t mean that our British cousins have just been sitting around. In fact, they’ve just had another historic vote. William Walton of Northumbria University brings us up to date.

Duration: 00:53:58


Densho

7/31/2017
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You’ve heard of the Shoah foundations, haven’t you? They are organizations designed to record and preserve the memories of Holocaust survivors before those survivors pass away. There’s a similar project underway for survivors of America’s concentration camps, where over a hundred thousand Americans of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated during World War II. It’s called Densho, and one of its founders, Tom Ikeda, tells us all about it.

Duration: 00:53:52


Lithuania!

7/18/2017
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As we discussed in a recent episode, Stewart’s wife, Priscilla Harris, served as a 2017 Core Fulbright Scholar at Vilnius University in Lithuania. Why VU? Why Lithuania? Well, it turns out that this little country, nestled in the northeastern corner of Europe, between Russia and the Baltic, has quite a history, and quite a bit of modern strategic importance. Join Stewart and young Lithuanian attorney Remigijus Jokubauskas as they talk about Lithuania, past, present and future.

Duration: 00:53:58


A Fulbright Scholar at Vilnius University.

7/11/2017
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The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is designed to promote international understanding and peace. Fulbright scholarships are highly competitive and prestigious. Stewart’s wife, Priscilla Harris, recently served as a Fulbright Scholar on the Faculty of Law at Vilnius University in Lithuania. Join...

Duration: 00:54:00


Robocop . . . is Almost Here

7/7/2017
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Remember that old Eighties flick, Robocop? It was about a real cop who was killed in the line of duty, then resurrected as a cyborg. How about the Terminator movies, where Arnold Schwarzenneger played a powerful robot from the future, who was either good or bad, depending upon which episode you’re watching. It’s all just science fiction, right? Wrong. It’s about to become science fact, and it has profound implications for the Fourth Amendment. Melanie Reid, a professor at LMU’s Duncan...

Duration: 00:52:55


Early Abolitionists

6/30/2017
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Abolition of slavery was not just a Civil War thing. Indeed, it has been an issue since long before our Constitution was written, and one group, the Quakers, was particularly outspoken about it. Nicholas Wood, of Yale University, was recently at Montpelier to teach a seminar on early abolitionism, and Stewart sat down with him in the new Potter Studios.

Duration: 00:53:52


Andrew Jackson, Part II

6/21/2017
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Andrew Jackson is such a complicated figure, and such a major subject of current interest, that we’ve decided to do two episodes on him. In Part I, we talked about Jackson’s early life, his legal career, and his rise to prominence in the War of 1812. In Part II, we pick up the story as Jackson uses his military victories to propel himself all the way to the White House. Dan Feller, the Editor of the Papers of Andrew Jackson, is our guide.

Duration: 00:53:53


Andrew Jackson, Part I

6/15/2017
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Old Hickory has been much in the news lately, with many people drawing comparisons between him and our current President. Indeed, Donald Trump recently visited Andrew Jackson’s historic home, The Hermitage, laid a wreath on Jackson’s grave and called himself a “big fan” of our seventh President. Are such comparisons valid? And who was Andrew Jackson, anyway? These are complicated questions. Fortunately, Stewart was able to sit down and discuss them with Dan Feller, a history professor at...

Duration: 00:54:03


Sovereignty, Treaties and Indigenous Peoples

6/8/2017
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Whether they are called Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans, or American Indians, people whose ancestors lived in what is now the United States before the arrival of Europeans present a fundamental constitutional question: are they U.S. citizens, or are they members of a separate nation? Or are they, perhaps, both? If they are, collectively, nations of some kind, what is the status of the various treaties they have negotiated with the U.S. Government over the past several hundred years?...

Duration: 00:53:52


The Dancing Deputy

6/2/2017
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Ever heard of Deuntay Diggs? He’s a Watch Commander at the Sheriff’s Office in Stafford County, Virginia. As part of his duties, he appears before school assemblies and other community groups as “The Dancing Deputy.” His videos have gone viral, garnering more than 40 million hits. Stewart met him at a recent seminar at Montpelier on the Fourth Amendment, which regulates police searches and seizures. Deuntay and Stewart hit it off immediately. But it soon emerged that Deuntay’s sunny and...

Duration: 00:53:52


Jane Crow

5/24/2017
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Have you ever heard of Pauli Murray? Didn’t think so. So it's a good thing that Rosalind Rosenberg, a historian at Barnard College, has written a new biography of this extraordinary and underappreciated woman. Pauli Murray was black, transgender, and brilliant – so brilliant that she mapped out the legal strategy that Ruth Bader Ginsberg would use to convince the Supreme Court to apply the Equal Protection Clause to women. Over decades, Pauli Murray struggled against just about every...

Duration: 00:53:58


Barron, Baltimore and the Bill of Rights, Part II

5/17/2017
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This is the continuation of the fascinating story behind an obscure, but vitally-important case from the early 1800’s, which helped define the American idea of a constitutional right. William Davenport Mercer, a historian from the University of Tennessee, tells the turning, twisting, fascinating tale of a business owner’s attempt to obtain compensation for damage to his wharf, a case in which, unexpectedly, Andrew Jackson played a major role.

Duration: 00:53:52


Barron, Baltimore and the Bill of Rights, Part I

5/11/2017
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Some important constitutional cases grab your attention automatically – think Dred Scott or Roe v. Wade. Others don’t, but are equally important. One such case is Barron v. Baltimore, which dealt, at least on the surface, with a claim by a wharf owner that the City of Baltimore had harmed his business. Sounds dull, right? But wait until you hear the story behind it, courtesy of William Davenport Mercer, a historian at the University of Tennessee.

Duration: 00:54:00


Montpelier Summit! Congress, the Courts, and the Separation of Powers

4/9/2017
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The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier does many important things in addition to underwriting this radio show. Among the most important is its sponsorship of “Montpelier Summits,” which bring together governmental officials and other influential people to discuss current constitutional problems and strategies to fix them. In this episode, Stewart interviews the moderators of a recent Summit: Lauren Bell, a Professor of Political Science and the Dean of Academic...

Duration: 00:53:53


Is Throwing Away the Key Really Such a Good Idea?

4/4/2017
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All across these United States, we put lots and lots of people in jail. Is that a good thing? Or are there costs, not all of them monetary, that we need to take into account? John Pfaff, a professor at Fordham Law School, thinks that maybe, just maybe, there's a problem here that needs addressing. He’s written a book, "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform," in which he discusses both the problems with imprisoning so many people, and some ways to...

Duration: 00:53:52


Academic Freedom and Free Speech

3/25/2017
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We’ve discussed free speech on campus before, focusing upon the threats posed by “political correctness.” But are there other threats to free speech and academic freedom? You bet there are. And some of them emanate from state legislatures. Stewart will discuss this troubling issue with Professor Donald P. Moynihan, the Director of the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Duration: 00:53:53


Gerrymandering, Authoritarianism and The Despot's Accomplice

3/17/2017
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Sometimes we start an interview thinking that we’re going to talk about one thing, and then the conversation takes an unexpected turn. Stewart recently spoke with Brian Klaas, a Fellow at the London School of Economics, expecting that they would discuss gerrymandering – and they did, eventually. But first the conversation veered down a dark path: the global rise of authoritarianism. Brian's written a book about this disturbing subject. It's called "The Despot's Accomplice."

Duration: 00:53:53

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