Past Programs

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 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.

November 04, 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.

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.

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


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

The Federalist Papers

Federal judges, when interpreting the U.S. Constitution, frequently use the Federalist Papers as a contemporary account of the intentions of the Framers.

September 24, 2014

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: The Constitution and the Bill of Rights

The National Constitution Center hosted a special talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

September 22, 2014

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Raise Your Voice, Change the World

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand shared her insider’s view on D.C. politics at the National Constitution Center.

September 16, 2014

The Classical Liberal Constitution

Influential legal thinker Richard A. Epstein of NYU Law School offers his distinctive interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.

September 09, 2014

Supreme Court Review 2014 July 8, 2014

The National Constitution Center partnered with the Anti-Defamation League to explore the Supreme Court’s landmark 2013 – 2014 session

July 08, 2014

Finding Equality in the Declaration of Independence

Political philosopher Danielle Allen of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Studies discussed her latest book, Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.

June 27, 2014

IQ2US Debate On Campaign Finance

The award-winning NPR show Intelligence Squared U.S. returned to the National Constitution Center for a no holds barred debate focusing on campaign finance, Super PAC’s, and the First Amendment.

June 26, 2014

The Roberts Court: Redrawing the Ground Rules of American Government

From Citizens United to the Affordable Care Act to gay marriage, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has profoundly affected American life. Scholar Laurence Tribe explored these and other ideas during a recent program at the National Constitution Center.

June 24, 2014

David Boies and Theodore Olson vs. the Supreme Court

The nation’s most prominent lawyers, David Boies and Theodore Olson, who famously went head to head in Bush v. Gore talked about teaming up together for one of the highest-profile cases in recent Supreme Court history.

June 20, 2014

The Meaning of the Fourth Amendment in a Digital Age

Fourth Amendment cases about cell phone data search and seizure examined in depth.

June 16, 2014

A Judge’s Perspective on Current Threats to a Fair and Impartial Judiciary

An insider’s look at the challenges state court judges face in charged political environments with Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Justice Barbara J. Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court, and former Chief Justice Marsha Ternus of the Iowa Supreme Court.

June 09, 2014

The History of the Second Amendment

Attorney Alan Gura and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, sat down with National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen for a smart and informed discussion about the history of the Second Amendment.

June 04, 2014

Senator James Webb: Love of Country, Love of Service

Former U.S. Senator and Navy Secretary James Webb joined the National Constitution Center to discuss his new memoir, I Heard My Country Calling.

May 27, 2014

Supreme Court Fellows: A Perspective from Inside the Federal Judiciary

National Constitution Center President and CEO Jeffrey Rosen sat down with the 2013-2014 Supreme Court Fellows to learn about these members of the Supreme Court community.

May 20, 2014

The Civil Rights Movement: Redefining the Meaning of Equality

Scholars Bruce Ackerman, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, and Steven Calabresi discussed how the civil rights movement amounted to a genuine revolution in constitutional law, focusing on the landmark statutes of the 1960s: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

May 14, 2014

James Madison Rediscovered with Lynne Cheney

New York Times bestselling author Lynne Cheney unveils her long-anticipated new biography on James Madison.

May 13, 2014

The End to Political Gerrymandering?

The location of district lines decide which voters vote for which representative. In 34 states, the state legislature has primary responsibility for creating a redistricting plan--in many cases subject to approval by the state governor. Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) believes that “people, not politicians” should be ultimately responsible for drawing political lines.

May 06, 2014

From Suffrage to Workplace Equality

Prominent scholars Nancy Cott of Harvard University, Neil Siegel of Duke University School of Law, and Yale Law School’s Reva Siegel discussed the evolution of 19th Amendment’s guarantee of women’s equality from suffrage to present day.

May 05, 2014

Justice John Paul Stevens: Amending the Constitution April 28, 2014

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens discussed his new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution.

April 28, 2014

Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas with Cass R. Sunstein

Harvard Law Professor and former Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass R. Sunstein visited the National Constitution Center to debut his latest book.

April 21, 2014

Sarah Lewis: The Freedom in Failure

Curator and art historian Sarah Lewis explores creative endeavors.

April 09, 2014

Bill of the Century: The Civil Rights Act of 1964

New York Times editor Clay Risen discussed his newest book, The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act, at the National Constitution Center

April 07, 2014

Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Vanity Fair and Politico correspondent Todd S. Purdum recounted the dramatic political battle to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as told in his powerful new narrative.

April 02, 2014

Senator Jim DeMint: Falling in Love with America Again

Former South Carolina Senator and current President of the Heritage Foundation Jim DeMint joined the National Constitution Center to discuss his latest book Falling in Love with America Again.

April 01, 2014

Alan Dershowitz: My Life in the Law

One of America’s most prominent legal minds, Alan Dershowitz,discusses his latest autobiograpy.

March 27, 2014

The State of Free Speech in America

Just how well do Americans understand the First Amendment? Should the First Amendment protect harmful or hateful words and expression?

March 25, 2014

Lessons Learned in the Wake of the Arab Spring

Former Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou and others share their lessons learned in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings

March 24, 2014

Lifting the Veil on the FISA Court

A secret body of law, the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) is now under scrutiny.

March 18, 2014

Our Broken Constitution with Jeffrey Toobin

In today's sharply divided political climate, there is one thing Americans appear to agree on: the government is not working.

March 11, 2014

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