Senators Flake and Coons: The Future of the Senate and Supreme Court

October 04, 2018


Note: An early transcript of the podcast courtesy of The Atlantic is linked here. This text may not be in its final form and accuracy may vary, and it may be updated or revised in the near future.

Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons join Jeffrey Rosen in a conversation recorded live earlier this week at The Atlantic Festival in Washington D.C. The senators discuss their important role in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, including their last-minute agreement to pause the nomination to allow for an FBI investigation of the allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. They also share their hopes and fears for the future of the Senate and the Supreme Court, and how political tribalism today threatens the legitimacy of these American institutions.

The Constitution in Crisis program was presented in partnership with The Atlantic and generously sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.



Sen. Chris Coons is the junior Democratic senator from Delaware. Elected in 2010, Senator Coons serves on the Judiciary Committee and is the senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts. He also serves on the Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees. Senator Coons previously served in county government in New Castle County, Delaware and was an attorney at W.L. Gore & Associates.

Sen. Jeff Flake is the senior Republican senator from Arizona, serving since 2012. Senator Flake sits on the Judiciary Committee where he also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, as well as the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Flake served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2001-2013.

​​​​​​Jeffrey Rosen is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center, the only institution in America chartered by Congress “to disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a nonpartisan basis.” 

Additional Resources

Our Interactive Constitution is the leading digital resource about the debates and text behind the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution. Here, scholars from across the legal and philosophical spectrum interact with each other to explore the meaning of each provision of our founding document. 

Article I, Section 3 by Steve Calabresi and Michael Gerhardt

This episode was engineered by Greg Scheckler and David Stotz, and produced by Jackie McDermott and Scott Bomboy. Research was provided by Lana Ulrich and Jackie McDermott.

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