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Ep. 199 - The U.S. Constitution and Protecting Citizens: Federal vs. State show art Ep. 199 - The U.S. Constitution and Protecting Citizens: Federal vs. State

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

We have a military.  We have a militia.  When it comes to protecting our citizens, both play a role.  The same militia mentioned in the second amendment is actually defined in 10 U.S. Code § 246 as able-bodied men over 17 and under 45 years old, who are or intend to become US citizens and female citizens who are members of the National Guard.  What precisely are the differences in roles of the organized and unorganized militia compared to the military?  Under what circumstances is a militia’s Commander in Chief the President or a state’s governor?  When can...

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Ep. 198 - The U.S. Constitution and The Border show art Ep. 198 - The U.S. Constitution and The Border

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

One of the biggest events in the news lately has been the situation at our southern border and illegal immigration.  Texas, due to its lengthy border with Mexico, is front and center in this discussion that involves the role both state and federal governments play in immigration.  While the U.S. Constitution says Congress has the authority to write immigration-related laws and the executive branch has the authority to implement these laws, what can a state do if the laws are not carried out?  Joining our all-star student panel to answer this, we are pleased to welcome Lora Ries,...

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Ep. 197 - The U.S. Constitution and National Sovereignty show art Ep. 197 - The U.S. Constitution and National Sovereignty

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

Since World War II, the United States, as the world’s lone superpower, has promoted democracy around the world with a focus on the longevity of the nation-state.  After all, a nation-state that is whole and free, holds free and frequent elections and is representative of its people will tend to have greater stability, less war, more prosperity and greater trade opportunities.  But as our guest discusses, lately we are seeing a greater build-up of multi-lateral and regional organizations to replace the nation-state. How can the US foster a greater reliance on the nation-state as the...

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Ep. 196 - The Constitution and Declaring War show art Ep. 196 - The Constitution and Declaring War

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

Think about the environment under which our Constitution was drafted.  Our new nation had just waged and won a war for independence and was surrounded on all sides with hostility: the British in the north and their navy out to sea, the Spanish empire to the south, British and French ships patrolling the Caribbean and sometimes hostile Native American tribes to the west.  Our Founders knew war was necessary but also had a healthy wariness about where the power to wage it should reside.  The Founders questioned if war powers could lead to tyranny and questioned the effect of...

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Ep. 195 - The Constitution and Israel show art Ep. 195 - The Constitution and Israel

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

In 1948, the United States under President Truman became the first country to recognize the existence of Israel.  Since then, the two nations have been staunch allies.  This alliance is certainly being put to the test with the latest round of fighting between the state of Israel and Hamas, the Islamic group which controls Gaza. What is the legal process for the US to provide aid to Israel?  What is the dual role Congress and the President play in helping our ally?  To help us answer these questions and more, we are delighted to welcome Lt. General (Ret.) Keith...

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Ep. 194 - The Constitution and Ukraine show art Ep. 194 - The Constitution and Ukraine

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

Seemingly, the United States has been engaged in some armed conflict somewhere in the world for most of our lives.  However, the United States has not had a formal declaration of war since World War II.  How exactly does that happen?  From what authority does the Congress and President engage in war or armed conflict?  What is a Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force and what are its limitations?  How does all of this relate to the almost 2 year long conflict in Ukraine today?  To help us answer all of these worthwhile questions with our all-star...

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Ep. 193 - The Tenth Amendment show art Ep. 193 - The Tenth Amendment

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

We are wrapping up our series on the Bill of Rights with this special episode on the 10th Amendment.  In just 28 words, it grants tremendous powers not to the federal government but to the states.  How so?  Regular viewers of our chats know Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution grants 17 specific powers to Congress.  That’s it.  The 10th Amendment says any powers not granted by the Constitution to the federal government are under the purview of the states or the people.  The Founders did this because they were wary of a strong central government, having just...

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Ep. 192 - The Ninth Amendment show art Ep. 192 - The Ninth Amendment

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

The Ninth Amendment might seem a bit confusing at first glance.  To understand its massive significance requires some insight into what the Founders were thinking.  Think of the Bill of Rights not as granting rights to the people but rather restricting what the government can and cant do in the lives of its citizens.  To wit, it would be impractical to list every right a citizen has and as such the rights specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights should not be viewed as a limit to those rights.  Helping us and our all-star student panel grasp the importance of this...

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Ep. 191 - The Eighth Amendment show art Ep. 191 - The Eighth Amendment

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

Once again, the Founders showed their preference for brevity with the 8th Amendment.  It is actually the shortest of all the amendments but packs a wallop in just 16 words!  In this week’s chat, we are discussing the elements of the 8th Amendment: protections against excessive bails and fines and protections against cruel and unusual punishments.  We answer what is a cruel and unusual punishment, who decides the standard by which punishment is deemed legal or illegal, how does this relate to “death-eligible” crimes in the application of the death penalty and...

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Ep. 190 - The Seventh Amendment show art Ep. 190 - The Seventh Amendment

Constitutional Chats Presented By Constituting America

As we discussed last week, the Sixth Amendment guarantees a trial by jury in a criminal trial, among other guarantees.  The Seventh Amendment guarantees a trial by jury in federal civil cases for disputes over $20. Why were the Founders so adamant about jury trials as opposed to a single judge?  What is the difference between a civil or common law trial and a criminal trial?  What are the exceptions to a trial by jury?  And how does this apply and function in conjunction with state law? Alongside our student panel, we are delighted to welcome Eric J. Wise, partner at Alston...

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The Fourth Amendment provides two specific protections: protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and requirements for when a warrant can be issued.  At only 54 words, the amendment continues the Founders’ penchant for brevity and leaves room for interpretation through the courts. How do we define what is unreasonable and probable and how has this standard changed over time?  At one point the United States Supreme Court said a search had to involve a physical trespass onto your property.  Obviously that standard has changed due to wiretaps and electronic communication.  To help us unpack the ever-changing circumstances around how we define searches, seizures and warrants, we are pleased to have Steven G. Bradbury joining our student panel.  Mr Bradbury is a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and has served in multiple Presidential administrations in various legal roles and will provide us with a keen insight into the Fourth Amendment.