Past Programs

The Constitutional Legacy of Justice Antonin Scalia

A discussion about Justice Scalia and the future of constitutional interpretation with three of the late Justice’s former law clerks and a former law clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer.

May 02, 2016

Randy Barnett: Our Republican Constitution

Renowned legal scholar Randy Barnett is joined by constitutional scholar Gillian Metzger to explain the origins of the debate about the meaning of America.

April 26, 2016

Honorary Senatorial Scholars’ Program Launch

Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Mike Lee (R-UT), launched the Constitution Center’s inaugural Honorary Senatorial Scholars' program with a constitutional conversation in Washington, D.C. The program was moderated by Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

April 26, 2016

James Traub: The Militant Spirit of John Quincy Adams

James Traub unveils his essential biography on the life and complex political career of America’s sixth president - John Quincy Adams.

April 21, 2016

David Cole: How Citizen Activists Can Make Constitutional Law

David Cole sheds light on a vital, yet often overlooked, driver of constitutional change: ordinary citizens.

April 18, 2016

Fergus Bordewich: How Madison, Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government

Prize-winning author and historian Fergus Bordewich tells the dramatic story s when Washington, Madison, and their dedicated colleagues struggled to successfully create our government.

April 14, 2016

Freedom Day 2016

Freedom Day encourages people of all ages to explore Americans’ freedoms of speech and expression.

April 13, 2016

Welcoming Remarks & Panel One Freedom Day 2016

Watch the opening remarks to Freedom Day, 2016 by Jeff Rosen and Frayda Levy. And then our first panel of the day: Should We Restrict Speech Promoting Terrorism Online?

April 13, 2016

What the Founding Documents Can Teach Us About Freedom : A conversation with David Rubenstein

A conversation with David Rubenstein, featured keynote speaker for Freedom Day 2016 at the National Constitution Center.

April 13, 2016

The History and Future of the Criminal Justice Act

Top scholars and judges come together to discuss one of the most significant pieces of legislation concerning the federal criminal justice system, the Criminal Justice Act, establishing the right to counsel in federal court under the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment.

April 11, 2016

Jacob Weisberg: The Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Political journalist Jacob Weisberg provides a bracing portrait of America’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan.

April 04, 2016

Privacy and Policing

National experts Barry Friedman, Tracey Meares, and former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey discuss the future of policing.

March 31, 2016

College Athletes’ Rights in the 21st Century

As part of Drexel University’s College Athletes’ Rights & Empowerment Conference, the National Constitution Center hosts an evening of programs centered around the rights of college athletes in America.

March 24, 2016

For Debate: Was Vergara Wrongly Decided?

James Finberg of Altshuler Berzon and Joshua Lipshutz of Gibson Dunn — two attorneys involved in Vergara v. California, a landmark dispute over the legality of teacher retention policies — debate the merits and drawbacks of the controversial case making its way through the California courts. This Town Hall Debate took place at the Merchants Exchange Club in San Francisco, CA.

March 16, 2016

Joel Klein: The 13th Annual John M. Templeton, Jr. Lecture

Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor, is the speaker for the 13th Annual John M. Templeton, Jr. Lecture. Klein explores the problems plaguing public education and offers a blueprint for how they can be solved.

March 10, 2016

Persuading the People: Presidential Primaries and Political Spin

A behind-the-scenes look at the history and influence of the presidential campaign — from Theodore Roosevelt and the first presidential primary to today.

February 25, 2016

Voting in America: How Campaign Finance and Election Laws Threaten Democracy

Leading election law scholars Edward B. Foley and Richard L. Hasen offer their critical take on the evolution of the structure of the American political system.

February 18, 2016

Has the President Gone Too Far on Immigration?

President Obama used his executive authority to defer the deportation of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Is the President’s policy unconstitutional?

February 16, 2016

Presidential Campaigns: 1788 to Present

Presidential historians discuss the history of presidential campaigning, what we can learn from past elections, and their take on the current state of our presidential electoral process.

February 11, 2016

Liberty’s Nemesis: The Unchecked Expansion of the State

A panel discussion as to why the concentration of power in administrative agencies may be the greatest threat to our liberties today.

February 08, 2016

Judge Guido Calabresi : The Future of Law and Economics

Judge Guido Calabresi discusses his new book, The Future of Law and Economics: Essays in Reform and Recollection.

February 01, 2016

Robert M. Gates: Lessons on Leadership from 50 Years of Public Service

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates returns to the Center to unveil his latest book.

January 21, 2016

The Federalist Papers: Relevant Today?  Bill of Rights Book Festival

Sanford Levinson, discusses his new book about the Federalist Papers. This is the fourth of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court’s History

Dissent and the Supreme Court: Its Role in the Court's History. This is the third of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

James Madison’s ‘Notes’: Revising the Constitutional Convention with Mary Sarah Bilder

James Madison's 'Notes': Revising the Constitutional Convention with Mary Sarah Bilder. This is the second of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

How Magna Carta Shaped America Bill of Rights Book Festival

How Magna Carta Shaped America with constitutional law and comparative constitutionalism expert A.E. Dick Howard. This is one of four events of the Bill of Rights Book Festival.

December 15, 2015

Why Reconstruction Matters

Preeminent historian Eric Foner in conversation with Richard Brookhiser, senior editor at National Review, for a special 13th Amendment discussion on the heels of the 150th anniversary of ratification.

December 09, 2015

The Thirteenth Amendment at 150: Emancipation, America’s Second Founding

A program commemorating the Thirteenth Amendment at 150 explores the challenges that remain, including the enduring issue of race. This special America's Town Hall takes place at the William G. McGowan Theater in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.

December 07, 2015

IQ2US DEBATE: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that: "No State shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Yet many state universities give substantial preferences to certain races in their admissions decisions. One side argues that these preferences level the playing field, remedy prior discrimination, and enhance diversity within the classroom.. The other side says that these preferences – in favor of some races, at the expense of others – are racial discrimination pure and simple.

December 03, 2015

Resolved: The Second Amendment Protects the Individual’s Right to Own and Carry a Gun

Participants debated whether or not the Supreme Court got it right when it ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own a handgun.

November 19, 2015

Ari Berman: The Fight (and Right) to Vote

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Ari Berman, political correspondent for The Nation, brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time.

November 18, 2015

Jon Meacham: The American Odyssey of George H.W. Bush

Presidential historian and bestselling author Jon Meacham unveils his sweeping yet intimate biography of George H. W. Bush.

November 12, 2015

The Significance of the Reconstruction Amendments for the Federal Judiciary

Judges discuss the origins, influence, and contemporary meaning of the 14th Amendment.

November 05, 2015

The Influence of the Reconstruction Amendments

A discussion about the influence of the Reconstruction Amendments with David M. Kennedy, Heather Mac Donald, and moderated by Judge Jeremy Fogel

November 05, 2015

The Legacy of Reconstruction

Three panel conversations on the origins, influence, and contemporary meaning of the 14th Amendment. Presented in partnership with the Federal Judicial Center.

November 05, 2015

School Choice: The Role of the Constitution and the Courts in Improving Education

Does the Constitution guarantee an “equal education” to every child? What do the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions say about school choice, teacher tenure, standardized testing, and more? The Center hosts two conversations exploring these questions. One of three panels in this event.

November 02, 2015

School Choice: Philadelphia School Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite

Dr. William R. Hite, Jr., Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia, offers his perspective on the issues facing Philadelphia schools. Second of three panels of this event.

November 02, 2015

School Choice and Equality

An examination of the state of Philadelphia public education and what an "equal education" in Philadelphia would look like, and specific proposals for getting there. Third of three panels in the program.

November 02, 2015

Adam Liptak and Steven Mazie: The 10 Toughest Cases of the 2014-15 Term

Top Supreme Court reporters outline the issues and arguments in the 10 most controversial opinions of the term.

October 28, 2015

What’s Cooking: Should the Government Regulate What We Eat?

The intersection of food, regulation and how the U.S. government influences the food we eat.

October 21, 2015

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Unfinished Business

Anne-Marie Slaughter, discusses her hotly anticipated book, Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family.

October 19, 2015

Grand Rapids Town Hall: Is the Criminal Justice System Good for Business?

The National Constitution Center returns to Grand Rapids for a program on the criminal justice system.

October 19, 2015

Commissioner Charles Ramsey: Policing in a Democratic Society

As part of its national initiative to host constitutional conversations with police recruits and veterans, the Center brings together experts in law and policing for an evening of thoughtful reflection.

October 13, 2015

Policing in a Democratic Society Panel 2

A panel discussion about policing in a democratic society.

October 13, 2015

Senator Chris Coons: A Conversation on Law and Politics

U.S. Senator Chris Coons discusses the upcoming Supreme Court term, current congressional debates, and his life in public service.

October 02, 2015

Panel 1 American Faith: The Origin and Meaning of Religious Liberty

On the occasion of Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, the Center convenes two all-star panels on the historical origins of religious liberty in America and the contemporary debates about its meaning and impact.

September 21, 2015

Panel 2 American Faith: The Origin and Meaning of Religious Liberty

Current issues and the limits of religious liberty in a democratic society are the subject of this panel discussion at the National Constitution Center,

September 21, 2015

Justice Stephen Breyer: The Court and the World

Justice Stephen Breyer makes a special Constitution Day appearance at thee National Constitution Center as he unveils his newly released book, "The Court and the World."

September 17, 2015

Press Conference Announcing the National Constitution Center’s new Interactive Constitution

The National Constitution Center launches the Interactive Constitution, a new online tool that transforms the U.S Constitution into a truly 21st century educational experience.

September 17, 2015

Landmark Cases: The Launch of a New National Constitution Center/C-SPAN Series

A panel of experts—Akhil Amar of Yale Law School, Judge Michael Baylson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvnia, and Neal Katyal of the Georgetown University Law Center— talk about America’s most critical Supreme Court cases.

September 16, 2015

Arthur C. Brooks: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America

American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks offers his bold vision for conservatism.

September 15, 2015

Cass R. Sunstein: Democracy and Extremism in the Age of Digital Media

Cass R. Sunstein discussed his new book, "Democracy and Extremism in the Age of Digital Media".

September 08, 2015

Why the Innocent Plead Guilty

Federal judges debate systematic failings of the criminal justice system.

July 15, 2015

2015 Supreme Court Review

Distinguished legal scholars E examine the Supreme Court’s landmark 2014-15 session, which included significant decisions on marriage equality, religious liberty, and threats online.

July 08, 2015

Do the Founding Fathers Have All the Answers?

Historian David Sehat describes how Americans have repeatedly sought out the Founding Fathers to defend their policies.

June 18, 2015

NSA Mass Phone Data Collection and the Fourth Amendment Town Hall in New York

A cutting-edge debate on the NSA’s Mass Phone Data Collection and whether this violates the Fourth Amendment.

June 16, 2015

The Constitution 101: Everything You Need to Know in 2015

Accomplished constitutional scholar Michael Stokes Paulsen and his son Luke Paulsen give a modern primer on the U.S. Constitution.

June 11, 2015

Hollingsworth v. Perry: A Revolutionary Decision

Renowned legal scholar Kenji Yoshino tells the definitive story of Hollingsworth v. Perry.

June 09, 2015

IQ2US Debate June 2015

Resolved: The Equal Protection Clause does not require States to license same-sex marriages.

June 02, 2015

The Beginning of the Bill of Rights

Award-winning historian Carol Berkin gives her take on the real story of how the Bill of Rights came to be.

May 27, 2015

Privacy in the Modern Age: The Search for Solutions

The threats to privacy in our digital age are well known, but what is the solution?

May 26, 2015

The New Glass Ceiling: The Status of Women’s Rights in the Workplace

Many Americans believe our country has done a lot to protect women and ensure gender equity in the workplace, but American Constitution Society President and D.C. insider Caroline Fredrickson disagrees. Fredrickson discusses the status of women’s rights in the workplace. Anne Boylan, Professor of History at the University of Delaware, moderates.

May 19, 2015

Senator Rand Paul at America’s Town Hall

Senator Rand Paul presents his vision for America, as described in his forthcoming book, "Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America."

May 18, 2015

Joseph Ellis: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis returns to the National Constitution Center to give the unexpected story of why the 13 colonies, having just fought off a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew.

May 13, 2015

Town Hall In Boston Resolved: Citizens United Was Wrongly Decided

A lively debate on the merits and drawbacks of the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision at the John Adams Courthouse in Boston, MA

May 12, 2015

Film Screening and Philadelphia Premiere of “14”

A discussion about who has the right to be an American Citizen.

May 12, 2015

Richard Reeves: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment

Former Frontline journalist and acclaimed historian Richard Reeves tells the story of America’s less-publicized response to the Pearl Harbor bombings.

May 06, 2015

An Expert Guide to America’s Constitutional Landscape

Does America’s Constitution look slightly different in California than it does in Kansas?

May 04, 2015

How Presidents Interpret the Constitution

Expert Harold H. Bruff traces the evolution of the president’s formal power.

April 27, 2015

The Declaration of Independence and the Nation that Followed

Enjoy four fascinating discussions around one of the most important documents in American history.

April 14, 2015

Freedom Day

The National Constitution Center convenes a host of luminaries — including leading thinkers on policy, innovation and national affairs — to discuss the changing nature of freedom in America, and examine threats and opportunities in the future.

April 13, 2015

Senator Mike Lee: Our Lost Constitution

Most politicians are self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution, but do they understand the document they swore to defend?

April 09, 2015

Renewing the American “We”: What We Owe James Wilson

National Constitution Center Trustee Joe Torsella discussed the "forgotten founder" James Wilson.

April 01, 2015

IQ2US Debate in New York City

Has the president exceeded his constitutional authority by waging war without congressional authorization?

March 31, 2015

Created Equal? Freedom Riders: Roadblocks and Redemption on “Freedom’s Main Line”

A discussion about the heroic acts of the Freedom Riders and the tensions between the civil rights movement of that time and the Kennedy administration.

March 26, 2015

Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech

Author Charles Slack vividly unfolds the pivotal events around the 1798 Sedition Act. Mike Quinn, President and CEO of the American Revolution Center, moderates.

March 24, 2015

James McPherson: Why the Civil War Still Matters

One of the nation’s leading Civil War historians, James McPherson, explored why the war remains so deeply embedded in the national psyche and identity of Americans today.

March 16, 2015

Behind the Revolt: The Origins of American Independence

Generations have been taught that the American Revolution was a revolt against the king, but was it?

March 09, 2015

Do We Need An Equal Rights Amendment To Ensure Gender Equality?

Constitutional law expert Cary Franklin, leading women’s history scholar Alice Kessler-Harris, and American legal history professor Serena Mayeri discuss whether we need an Equal Rights Amendment to ensure gender equality.

March 04, 2015

Judith Rodin: The Resilience Dividend

Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, discusses her latest book.

February 17, 2015

David Boaz: The Libertarian Mind

Executive Vice President of Cato Institute, David Boaz discusses the libertarian perspective on government surveillance, the 2008 financial crisis, and more.

February 16, 2015

Lincoln’s Legacy: The 13th Amendment 150 Years Later

A special kick-off celebration commemorating the 13th Amendment. Video remarks by the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor and an exclusive sneak peek of an original copy of the 13th Amendment. Jeffrey Rosen, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates and panel with leading Reconstruction scholars as well as philanthropist David Rubenstein, NEH Chairman William "Bro" Adams, Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee.

February 12, 2015

Corruption in America

Law professor and political organizer Zephyr Teachout explores political corruption and how the courts have defined it throughout history.

February 10, 2015

The First Amendment Bubble

The growth of the Internet has made it ever harder to distinguish public from private, news from titillation, and journalists from provocateurs.

February 03, 2015

Judge Robert Katzmann on Interpreting the Law of Congress

In an ideal world, the laws of Congress – known as federal statutes – would always be clearly worded and easily understood by the judges who must interpret them. But the wording of many laws is ambiguous or even contradictory. What are the principles, then, by which judges should interpret their meaning? Stick only to the text? Consult aids beyond the statutes themselves – and to what degree?

January 21, 2015

Reagan at Reykjavik

Ken Adelman shared his riveting firsthand account of the unexpectedly historic summit in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986 with Reagan and Gorbachev.

December 09, 2014

100 Years of Politics and Culture in America

In celebration of The New Republic's 100th year anniversary, Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, joined the National Constitution Center for a conversation on the magazine’s recently released book exploring the pivotal issues of modern America – Insurrections of the Mind: 100 Years of Politics and Culture in America. Constitution Center President and CEO and New Republic legal affairs editor Jeffrey Rosen will moderate.

December 02, 2014

The 12th Annual Templeton Lecture for Economic Liberty and the Constitution

Charles Murray, author and scholar, was the speaker for the 12th Annual John M. Templeton Jr. Lecture on Economic Liberties and the Constitution.

December 01, 2014

Is the Supreme Court Objective? Cases For and Against

Most Americans share the perception that the Supreme Court is objective, but is it?

November 18, 2014

Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide - In an Era of Discontent

A distinguished panel of former and current judges joined Joel Cohen for a discussion drawing inspiration from his new book, Blindfolds Off.

November 12, 2014

Richard Norton Smith: The Life of Nelson Rockefeller

Richard Norton Smith on American icon Nelson Rockefeller.

November 03, 2014

The Constitutional Legacy of James Madison

Two conversations on Madison’s historical and contemporary legacy.

October 30, 2014

Gov. Jeb Bush, Justice Alito attend preview of George H.W. Bush gallery

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and National Constitution Center chairman Jeb Bush were among the dignitaries at the National Constitution Center on Monday night as the Center previewed its new George H.W. Bush Gallery.

October 27, 2014

Red, White, and Blue: America’s Influence on the Norwegian Constitution

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Norway’s Constitution, the National Constitution Center and the Norwegian-American Chamber of Commerce (Philadelphia Chapter) presents a conversation on the influence of the Founding Fathers and U.S. Constitution on the Norwegian Constitution — just one of the many historic bonds between these two countries. Participating in this discussion is University of Oslo Professor Ola Mestad and University of California Professor Kaare Strøm.

October 22, 2014

Richard Brookhiser: Abraham Lincoln, Founders’ Son

Biographer Richard Brookhiser has turned his eye to perhaps the Founding Fathers' greatest pupil—Abraham Lincoln

October 15, 2014

Edward Larson: The Return of Washington

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward Larson highlights a crucially important, yet often overlooked chapter of George Washington’s illustrious career.

October 13, 2014

IQ2US Debate: Phone records and the Fourth Amendment

The award-winning debate program Intelligence Squared U.S. returned to the National Constitution Center for a no holds barred debate.

October 07, 2014

The Forgotten Presidents

Leading legal expert Michael J. Gerhardt joins the National Constitution Center for a myth-shattering discussion surveying the 13 presidents he deems the "most forgotten".

October 06, 2014

GEOFFREY C. WARD: REVISITING THE ROOSEVELTS

Screenwriter and historian Geoffrey C. Ward painted an extraordinarily vivid portrait of one of America’s greatest political dynasties as represented by three extraordinary individuals—Theodore, Eleanor, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt—and their lasting impact on our nation.

October 01, 2014

Annette Gordon-Reed: The Contradictions of Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson helped create a new nation based on individual freedom and self-government—yet he remained a slaveholder throughout his life.

September 29, 2014

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