U.S. Constitution

  • The Real Meaning of “Deep State”

    One of the proudest moments in my life had no witnesses—at least none that I know personally.  On my very first day working on Capitol Hill, I reported to the Senate personnel office.  I think I was told to go down to complete some paperwork.  I signed a couple of documents, and then a clerk—I remember he wasn’t wearing his suit-coat—told me to raise my right hand.  I did, and … Read More

  • The Responsibility of Citizenship

    We have heard a lot in the last couple of years—and even more in the last couple of days—about the challenge to the Constitution and our free institutions.  With momentum building for impeachment proceedings in the aftermath of the whistleblower complaint against the president, those concerns are rising, again.  The op-ed pages and the cable news channels are going to be full of breathless accounts of malfeasance, corruption, and violations … Read More

  • The Question of Impeachment with Frank O. Bowman III

    Air Dates: August 19-25, 2019 Whether to impeach President Donald Trump is an open question in American politics.  Those who favor impeachment point no further than volume II of the Mueller report and its accounts of apparent obstruction of justice by the President.  Others caution that absent the ability to win a conviction in the Senate, impeachment would boomerang and only boost the president’s popularity and likelihood of winning reelection … Read More

  • It’s Not a Constitutional Crisis

    It’s easy right now to let our worries and anxieties about events in Washington consume us. A quick listen to the talking heads or a glance at some of the opinion pages would lead you to believe that we’re in the midst of a full-blown constitutional crisis.  It’s a thought that I’ve considered on more than one occasion in recent months, largely stemming from the proliferation of congressional investigations into … Read More

  • Jed Shugerman on Story in the Public Square

    History of Law in America with Jed Shugerman

    Air Dates: November 24-25, 2018 The confirmation of Justice Bret Kavanaugh was a bruising episode for many Americans. Jed Shugerman views that confirmation process against the long history of America’s courts and essential debates over the constitutional limits on executive power. Shugerman is a Professor of Law at Fordham University. He attended Yale Law School and graduated in 2002, and went on to earned his PhD in History. Blending his … Read More

  • Author James Carroll on Rhode Island’s and America’s Moral Charter

    On Thursday October 18, 2012, Boston Globe columnist and author James Carroll spoke at the kick-off a multi-day planning session organized by the Pell Center, the Newport Historical Society, the John Carter Brown Library, the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, Brown University, and Bryant University. Carroll, author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem offered a blend of historical context and contemporary political reflection, weaving the legacy of Roger Williams and Rhode Island’s … Read More

  • God and American Politics

    I just returned from the Pell Center round-table with Professor Dan Cowdin on the role of God in American politics.  It was a lively conversation that affirmed just how intimately intertwined are issues of faith, identity, and public values. As the conversation ensued, we made reference to several texts from American history.  I’ve linked to each below. President John F. Kennedy’s Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association (1960) Rev. … Read More

  • Quick Hit: ‘We the People’ Losing Appeal

    I read this story in the New York Times on Monday and found it both fascinating and troubling. “We the People” Loses Appeal with People Around the World” Here’s a brief quote: In 1987, on the Constitution’s bicentennial, Time magazine calculated that “of the 170 countries that exist today, more than 160 have written charters modeled directly or indirectly on the U.S. version.” A quarter-century later, the picture looks very … Read More