Professor Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University and one of the nation's leading authorities on the Constitution, offers weekly in-depth discussions on the most urgent and fascinating constitutional issues of our day. He is joined by co-host Andy Lipka and guests drawn from other top experts including Bob Woodward, Nina Totenberg, Neal Katyal, Lawrence Lessig, Michael Gerhardt, and many more.
vor 2 Tagen
56:29Rumors swirl around the possibility of an indictment of former President Trump, from several sources - New York, Georgia, Washington. We wait with you, and rather than speculate, we will pounce when and if something happens. In the meanwhile, we give you some bonus material in the form of a great listener question, and some information about our favorite pastime.
The Lord Mayor Adams
1:31:16The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, delivered a controversial speech at an interfaith breakfast, raising issues of church/state separation, gun control, and the role of religion in governance. Akhil uses the opportunity for some comparative constitutional analysis, and we look at the worldwide continuum of separationist approaches. The mayor is quite provocative on school prayer and quite confusing on guns, and we take that up as well. Meanwhile, we take a question on the judiciary in a far away and yet not so far away land.
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Sing a Song (of) Mike Pence
1:46:59Former Vice President Mike Pence has received subpoenas from Special Counsel Jack Smith. Pence claims that he has grounds to challenge this subpoena; he locates this in the so-called “speech and debate” clause, and some claim that executive privilege is relevant as well. We examine these clauses and doctrines deeply and offer our own conclusions on this issue. Speaking of doctrines, the Supreme Court has brought the “major questions” doctrine out once again in the student debt case, and we look at that. We also take a deeper dive on questions of standing - how do states have the ability to appear in court challenging this presidential action? It may not surprise you to hear that Akhil wrote a relevant article, over 30 years ago.
Torture, Time Travel, and Transformation
1:16:52This week we take your questions; our listeners are engaged and clever, so Professor Amar is challenged again and again. How far do his 4th and 5th amendment views extend - do they reach torture? A fellow law professor asks a deep question about Reconstruction and Women’s suffrage which has deep implications. And we take a trip back in time to Akhil’s most treasured constitutional moments. Meanwhile, there’s more on Moore v. Harper and mootness.
Secrets, Boards, and Moots - Oh My!
1:34:20People love to talk about the Constitution - that’s why we have a podcast. Sometimes, however, the conventional wisdom is quite unwise, leading to deeply unfortunate national narratives. Today we address questions such as whether the Constitution was foisted upon an unwitting nation, with the proceedings kept secret for decades. This is perhaps an old question, but in the news recently, we read of state public school curricula wherein objection is raised to the notion that the Declaration and Constitution are “remarkable.” So it matters that we understand all these questions - and their answers. We offer some. Oh, and speaking of “in the news,” Moore v. Harper is back in the headlines, with questions of whether it will be rendered moot hanging in the air, to the alarm of many. Professor Amar has a nuanced take on that.
Treason, Reason, History, and OurStory - Special Guest Kermit Roosevelt III
1:50:08We continue our discussion with Professor Roosevelt of his new book, The Nation That Never Was. We revisit our debate on the Declaration of Independence and specifically, the meaning of “all men are created equal.” This has profound implications, it turns out, for evaluating the 1788 transition from Articles of Confederation to U.S. Constitution, the 1861 secession, and the great Reconstruction moment of the later 1860’s. Were these all secessions of a sort? Were they extra-legal? Were they treasonous? And finally, what sort of national narrative can we coherently draw from all this? Profound implications, especially when one considers the arguments and claims of the recent 1619 project, emerge.
Trillion Dollar Tricks - Special Guest Jack Balkin
1:25:50The newly Republican House is threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling, raising the spectre of a US default. Given the 14th amendment, section 4’s prohibition on “questioning” the debt of the United States, all sorts of constitutional questions and strategies have been raised. We are fortunate to welcome Professor Jack Balkin, who knows more about this provision and this topic than anyone, to explain the origin of this constitutional provision, and why its history is directly relevant to today’s developments. Meanwhile, what about the trillion-dollar coin and other mind-blowing approaches to the problem? We’ve got the lowdown on those, too.
Declaration, or Gettysburg? - Special Guest Kermit Roosevelt III
1:18:21A new book, The Nation That Never Was, by Professor Kermit Roosevelt III of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, engages in extensive historical, legal, political, and philosophical analysis of the American story. This is nothing less than a search for America's most useful and unifying narrative, even as we are living with the controversy and divisions that the “1619” and “1776” projects have wrought (or highlighted). Professor Roosevelt embraces some of Professor Amar’s key innovations and claims, including the centrality of the Reconstruction Amendments for valid originalist analyses, but he also makes claims that, shall we say, get Akhil’s (and Andy’s!) attention. So, too, will it grab your attention as you listen to a respectful debate.
Wait - Don’t Tell Me!
1:33:26The aftermath of murders in Idaho saw another terrible crime in Massachusetts, and all these matters raise questions of criminal procedure and the constitution. We continue our 4th amendment reflection but add the 6th amendment, which has seen little attention on our podcast in the past. What can a lawyer fairly do in your defense? Add to this a discussion of the various anniversaries that this past week observed, and the long-promised answering of some great viewers questions, and you have a loaded episode.
The Idaho Murder Case in Constitutional Perspective
1:24:21A tragedy in Idaho riveted the nation, as a dragnet, a manhunt, a search of garbage, a DNA test, a bail hearing, an extradition, and much more surrounded the eventual arrest and the onset of legal process in the case. Fortunately, Professor Amar has written on all these subjects, and we travel down these various roads, explaining and navigating their constitutional complexities.