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Ep. 218 – You Chose To Celebrate The American People! show art Ep. 218 – You Chose To Celebrate The American People!

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

This week we celebrate the spirit of the American people! A country’s identity is directly tied to its people.  A good way to gauge the characteristics and spirit of a country’s people is to look at the country from an outsider’s perspective.  That’s exactly what Alexis de Tocqueville did when he came to America in 1831.  The French-born aristocrat traveled extensively around our country and in 1835 wrote of his observations and experiences in “Democracy in America.” What can we learn from his observations?  Are his observations still relevant nearly 200 years...

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Ep. 217 – You Chose Celebrating The American Dream!  show art Ep. 217 – You Chose Celebrating The American Dream!

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

When you hear the term “the American Dream” what do you think of first?  Homeownership?  Going to college?  Having a great job?  Safe communities?  All are correct answers.  What is amazing about that dream is that it can be unique to each of us, yet is something we all collectively enjoy in this country. Think about this.  Our Constitution does not specifically mention the American Dream, but it protects the freedoms to pursue it. The American Dream did not happen by accident and our guest argues it’s largely driven by economic liberty.  To find...

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Ep. 216 - You Chose to Celebrate Our Beautiful Country – From Sea To Shining Sea! show art Ep. 216 - You Chose to Celebrate Our Beautiful Country – From Sea To Shining Sea!

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

Our country is one of unimaginable beauty.  From snow-capped mountain peaks to arid deserts to peaceful beaches, our varied landscapes have spoken to our soul as a nation for generations.  Our country currently preserves 63 sites with the “national park” designation, with a total of 429 sites in the system.  To help us better understand the history and significance of these locales, we are delighted to welcome two guests to our chat this week.  Linda Harvey is a former Deputy Director of the National Park Service.  Karla Morton is the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate and...

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Ep. 215 - You Choose to Celebrate Federalism! show art Ep. 215 - You Choose to Celebrate Federalism!

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

We admit it.  We are big fans of federalism.  Regular listeners will understand that Constitution grants certain rights to the federal government and courtesy of the 10th amendment, remaining powers are reserved for the states.  Does this mean federalism is a function of recognition of states’ rights?  Our special guest argues this characterization is better suited if we view federalism as a function of decentralized and self-government as it relies on local authority.  Join our guest, Dr. William B. Allen, Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy and Dean of James...

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Ep. 214 - Celebrate America: You Chose to Celebrate Freedom! show art Ep. 214 - Celebrate America: You Chose to Celebrate Freedom!

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

As Americans, do we sometimes have a tendency to take freedom for granted?  When it’s something most of us have lived with our entire lives, the answer is assuredly yes.  That’s to be expected as we can’t fully comprehend what it is to live without. But ask anyone born under a dictator or totalitarian regime and they quickly remind of us of the blessings of liberty, since they once lived without it.  To help remind us of this blessing of freedom, we are honored to have Ambassador Aldona Woś.  Polish born, Ambassador Woś served as the US Ambassador to Estonia during...

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Ep. 213 - The Trump Tax Cuts Case Before The Supreme Court show art Ep. 213 - The Trump Tax Cuts Case Before The Supreme Court

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

The 16th Amendment gives power to congress to “lay and collect taxes.”  After all, a country has to have an ability to raise revenue. When it comes to that revenue, we have had a tradition of paying taxes on income, not the value of an investment, like paying taxes when we sell a few shares of stock in a company and not on the growth of that stock every year we own it.  Those are called realized gains.  There is discussion in the federal government to change that and tax unrealized gains meaning we would have to pay taxes on the increase in value in our homes or investments...

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Ep. 212: What Is Gerrymandering? show art Ep. 212: What Is Gerrymandering?

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

The Constitution dictates every 10 years we undergo a Census to count how many people live in each state.  Based off these population numbers, congressional seats are then apportioned.  States who lost population might lose a seat and states who grew may gain a seat or two since we can only have 435 total seats in the U.S. House.  This brings up an obvious question: who gets to redraw congressional districts after apportionment and can they redraw those districts for a political benefit?  This is where gerrymandering comes into play.  According to our guest expert,...

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Ep. 211 - Homeless Encampments In Public Spaces show art Ep. 211 - Homeless Encampments In Public Spaces

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

City Councils all across the country have been tackling an issue that has bipartisan concern: how to tackle homeless populations within their cities.  Grants Pass, OR., is one such city.  Grants Pass is in the middle of the Supreme Court case Johnson v. Grants Pass that is challenging that city’s ability to levy civil and criminal punishments to deter homeless encampments.  A Supreme Court decision is expected this summer.  To help our student panel understand the broad implications of this Supreme Court case and the “strait jacket” put on cities by lower courts to...

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Ep. 210 - What Is The SEC? Do “In House” Tribunals Violate the Right To Jury? show art Ep. 210 - What Is The SEC? Do “In House” Tribunals Violate the Right To Jury?

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

Trial by jury and fair court proceedings bound by constitutional restraint are bedrock principles of our federal government.  Imagine being charged with a crime by a federal agency except the agency handles the entire court proceedings with a judge on its payroll.  The Securities and Exchange Commission was created by a 1934 act in response to the Great Depression and Stock Market Crash of 1929.  In 2008, in response to the financial crisis, its powers were significantly expanded through the Dodd Frank Act.  Under that legislation, the SEC was allowed to have in-house court...

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Ep. 209 - How Far Can The EPA Go In Regulating A State's Emissions? show art Ep. 209 - How Far Can The EPA Go In Regulating A State's Emissions?

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

In February of this year, the Supreme Court heard arguments in Ohio v. EPA.  This case challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to enforce the Good Neighbor Plan which aims to curb pollution carried by the wind into neighboring states. As usual, legal proceedings can easily become confusing as a lawsuit makes its way to the Supreme Court.  Fortunately, we are welcoming back Steve Bradbury, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, to help us unravel this case as we discuss the background and ramifications of this lawsuit.

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The United States Supreme Court has various depictions of Lady Justice in and around the building.  These depictions portray her with three items: a blindfold, scales and a sword.  The blindfold and scales suggest the use of reason and logic in judicial judgement.  The sword suggests the strength to carry out that judgement.  Have you wondered how the concept of an independent judiciary furthers the separation of powers because one branch of government cannot be the judge in its own case?  To elaborate further on these fascinating themes, we are delighted to have Richard Reinsch, Director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies and AWC Family Foundation Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, join our all-star student panel for this insightful discussion.